Wednesday – Summer Heat

summer-heat

There are some people who would agree that there is nothing more satisfying than walking away from a hard workout like that in the summer heat. Sure you may look like you just ran through the rain and then rolled on the ground (just me?? Those who know me know I’m always filthy after every workout) but who cares. You are the walking mark of satisfaction and of a job well done. Doesn’t matter if you’re in those short shorts, feel like your shirt is choking you so it immediately comes off, or if you cover up so much to the point where you look like you’re about to run through the arctic – you are there and see immediate results of even the slightest effort put into whatever it is you have to do. Maybe I’m crazy but I enjoy that. . . .

It takes your body approximately two weeks to adjust to a climate change. Granted that we are well into summer now, here are some quick tips to help make it through the most brutal summer workouts . . .and man have they been brutal lately!

1. Drink Plenty of Water – There are so many important and essential functions of water for our bodies, one of which includes regulating body temperature. If you are not a water drinker, try to make sure you take in those few extra glasses a day to help keep cool. I promise your body will thank you for it.

2. Bring a Towel – Nothing is worse than mid workout and your eyes begin to burn from the sweat dripping straight down into your eyes. Don’t be afraid to rock out those head bands or even have a towel handy if you sweat like you are in the Sahara Desert.

3. Extra Clothing – Ever finish a workout and have to run to the store on your way home? What happens? You end up freezing your butt off in the store! It’s amazing what a difference something as simple as a dry shirt can do after a workout to have you feeling refreshed.

4. Know Your Limits – Number 1 priority is your health, that’s why you Crossfit in the first place. If for any reason you ever feel like the heat it too much and you need a water break, or need to put a cold towel on the back of your neck, then do it. The heat of summer can be oppressive sometimes and there’s no point in giving yourself heat exhaustion. Be smart and know your body’s limits in the heat.

Go to Source

Wednesday – Arnold’s Rules of Success

By BoxLife Team

As everyday athletes looking to develop our fitness, we can appreciate those who have been successful in doing so at the highest levels. Before he was the Terminator and later the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a competitive bodybuilder winning the title of Mr. Olympia seven times. Born in Austria to humble beginnings, his path to international fame didn’t come without challenges. However, he overcame the odds and became a household name by sticking to his now-famous six rules of success. So, how can we apply those rules to our experience with CrossFit?

Rule 1: Trust Yourself
Your goals are unique to you. Your dreams and aspirations can’t be dictated by anyone else. Just because Joe CrossFit wants to compete in every competition imaginable doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to do the same. Similarly, others may share your goal of improving their nutrition, but their choices may not suit your tastes or lifestyle. Get to know yourself and know what it is you want out of your CrossFit experience, and don’t stop working on it until you’ve achieved it.

Rule 2: Break Some Rules
When it comes to breaking the rules in CrossFit, Games veteran Chris Spealler comes to mind. At 5’5” and 150lbs, Spealler qualified for seven CrossFit Games while making his mark in the sport against athletes bigger and stronger than him. Others known to break the rules in CrossFit are adaptive athletes and masters—those individuals who refuse to let the limitations of age or a disability stop them from training and competing as they see fit. You can also break the rules when it comes to your training methodology. There’s no golden map of success, and what works for one athlete may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and employ different exercises to help you achieve the results you want.

Rule 3: Don’t be afraid to fail
Some of the greatest success stories come from people who have failed again and again. What’s separated them from others is their refusal to quit in spite of these failures. Failure is also important when it comes to taking risks. Whether you’re learning a new skill or attempting a new PR—don’t be afraid to fail.

Rule 4: Ignore the naysayers
We all have people in our lives that simply don’t believe in our goals. These naysayers are typically people who condemn CrossFit (or don’t understand it in the first place), but sometimes they may be fellow athletes that doubt your abilities and conviction to your objectives. In either case, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need a naysayer’s approval. Feed off your passions in and outside the gym and let those passions lead you to success.

Rule 5: Work Like Hell
You’ve heard the saying before, ‘The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.’ If you want to get better in life and in CrossFit, you have to work like hell until you get there. If you’re not where you want to be, reassess your circumstances and keep working.

Rule 6: Give Something Back
CrossFit, at its heart, is about the affiliate community. We console each other when things don’t go well and we celebrate each other’s victories when they do. As much support as you receive, you should give back in kind. It can be as simple as welcoming a newcomer to your affiliate, running those 400m with the last athlete to finish, or helping a friend with their mechanics. Our coaches and communities help us and we should do what we can to give back in return.

Go to Source

Tuesday – Herniated

  • Pain from a herniated disc is a complex personal experience. Physical and psychological factors are constantly changing and can contribute to a patient’s experience of pain. A herniated disc may not be painful at all times, or it may become even more painful because of psychological and other factors in the patient’s life. For example, many studies have established a correlation between back pain and depression.  The pain from a disc herniation also may become more severe when compounded with other physical problems in the spine, or situational factors (such as poor posture, sitting for a long period, etc).

 

Because of the complexities of understanding pain from a herniated disc, patients should not attempt to make their own diagnosis. An inaccurate self-diagnosis may lead to further damage to spinal structures or to more severe episodes of back pain or leg pain if the condition is left untreated or treated incorrectly. Working with a spine specialist helps ensure that the correct location of a herniated disc, extent of the problem and source of pain are identified early on.  

If any of you have any questions on what the neck or back problem might be or looking for suggestions or care feel free to call me!  Or ask me at CF!! 

 

Dr. Meghan

Go to Source

Wednesday – Dan Dan Noodles

Anyone else finding themselves extra hungry from the workouts lately?? Maybe it’s the heavy lifting we’ve been doing or the longer WODs that crush us but the hunger that coincides with Crossfit can be fierce! Doesn’t matter if you’re paleo, count macros, or stuff your face with whatever because you’re on the see food diet . . . chances are you’ve experienced what it’s like to feel hangry. I know I can’t be the only one who’s part way done with one meal and already thinking about their next. What can I say . . . . I genuinely love food. Heck, I love food and cooking just about as much as I love lifting, thankfully the two marry together great!

For those of you not enjoying an amazing Box Bistro meal or who are looking for something different to make for dinner some nights, here’s my favorite recipe from the “Well Fed Weeknights” cookbook (I’m even making this tonight for dinner and I’m so excited lol . . . there will be no survivors). Yes it is Paleo. Yes it is easy to make. Yes you will have quite a few dishes BUT it’s an amazing dish that doesn’t take long to make.

Dan Dan Noodles from Well Fed Weeknights

wfweeknights_dandannoodles-w750

Dan Dan Noodles are one of the most popular street foods in Sichuan (a.k.a. Szechuan) province of southwestern China. The cuisine of the region is known for its bold flavors, with lots of garlic, chiles, and Sichuan pepper. The name “dan dan” refers to the pole that noodle vendors used to sell their wares. It was carried across their shoulders, a basket of noodles on one end and the spicy sauce on the other. Traditionally, the noodles swim in a face-tingling broth and are topped with minced pork and preserved vegetables. This fast, paleo version uses zucchini noodles for slurping, cornichons for an acidic tang, and a separate chili oil so you can customize the heat.

Total time: approx. 40 minutes

Ingredients: (Serves 2-4 people)

For the noodles:

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the chili oil:

  • ½ cup light-tasting olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

For the pork:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1½ pounds ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini or almond butter (I prefer almond butter)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • pinch coconut sugar (optional – I omit)
  • ⅓ cup cornichons (optional – I also omit)

garnish: a handful cashews or sunflower seeds, 2–3 scallions

Directions:

Make the noodles. Julienne the zucchini with the spiralizer. Place the noodles in a colander and toss them with the salt until the strands are lightly coated. Set the colander in the sink to drain while you prep the other ingredients.

Make the chili oil. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, peppercorns, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Warm the oil over medium-low heat while you cook.

Cook the pork. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. While the oil heats, peel and grate the ginger, mince the jalapeño, and peel and crush the garlic. Add the aromatics to the oil and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Crumble the pork into the pan, season with the salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it’s browned, 7–10 minutes.

Make the sauce. While the pork cooks, place the tahini, sesame oil, Chinese five-spice, and black pepper in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Add the coconut aminos, vinegar, and sugar; stir until combined. Chop the cornichons and set them aside.

Put it together. Add the sauce to the meat in the skillet and stir to coat the meat. Add the cornichons to the skillet, toss to combine, and transfer the meat mixture to a large bowl. Reheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse the zucchini noodles under running water, drain well, and squeeze them dry in a clean dish towel. Add the noodles to the heated pan and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until hot. Return the meat to the pan and toss with two wooden spoons to combine; allow it to heat through. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cinnamon stick from the chili oil and discard it. Set the oil aside to cool. Chop the cashews and scallions.

To serve, divide the noodles among individual bowls and top with a drizzle of chili oil, then sprinkle with cashews and scallions.

Cookup Tips

Spiralize the zucchini, make the chili oil, and prep the sauce in advance; store everything in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, cook the pork and put it all together according to the directions.

Go to Source

Tuesday – Principles

This is a guest post from Ed Tseng. In Forbes Magazine.

 

I have found that the principles for peak performance in sports are no different than the principles for peak performance in the business world. 

 

1. They get stuck in feelings—When people are in a slump, they tend to feel things such as: lack of confidence, discouragement, negativity, anger, stress, and being overwhelmed. But where do these feelings come from? 99 percent of the world believes that it comes from something outside of them, like their workload, the economy, rejection, a rude comment, the weather, etc. The truth is nothing outside of you can affect how you feel. If it could, then everyone would react the same way in the same situation and we know that doesn’t happen. Feelings can only come from one place—thought. And thought is generated from inside us. We feel our thinking, not our circumstances.

 

When people understand where those feelings are coming from (thought), they are back in control, instead of being a prisoner of their circumstances. We cannot control what thoughts come into our heads, but we can always choose which ones we give attention to and make grow, and which ones we ignore or dismiss, thereby keeping them powerless over us.

2. They think too much—A friend of mine plays for the New York Yankees and one season, he was in a major hitting slump. He tried to analyze and figure out what was wrong. He changed his grip, his stance, his stride…nothing was working. Finally, one day, he said to himself, “You know what? Screw it!” He stopped thinking about it. He stopped fighting through it, and he stopped trying to change his game. He “just” played. And he broke out of his slump.

When people try to implement a strategy to change technique, thinking, re-frame, or analyze, it won’t work, because that makes them think more. The goal is less thinking. The fastest way to break out of a slump is to do absolutely nothing to try to break out of a slump. The philosopher, Yogi Berra once said, “You can’t think and hit at the same time. A full mind is an empty bat.”

3. They dwell on past failures—Athletes often dwell on a shot they missed in the past. Salespeople often dwell when they don’t close a deal. When they stay focused on it, they feel it, and their performance goes down. What we think, we feel. That is why smart people sometimes do stupid things.  Oprah said, “Your focus is your future.” When you focus on the negative, it is impossible to get positive results. Living in the past is like driving while looking through the rear-view mirror.

4. They stress over winning—During a big game, athletes get anxious about winning and losing. So do people at work.  The peak performers make every job important, but no job SPECIAL. When working with businesses, my main goal is to get them to understand that it’s great to have the desire to do well, but it’s important to realize that if you don’t do well, your life will be just fine. Most people don’t know where their anxiety is coming from so they attribute it to something out in the world, but it’s always coming from inside us. Realizing this helps us perform with freedom, clarity, energy, and enjoyment. It is completely normal to have stressful thoughts about a situation, but accept them for what they are…just thoughts. When we stop stressing over stressful thoughts, they don’t seem to come around as often or stay as long.

5. They think negative thoughts are bad—Have you ever had a negative thought? We all have, even the most successful people in the world, but most feel this is bad. I used to look for positive thoughts and avoid negative thoughts, but now I see them as neutral. When people believe positive thoughts are better than negative thoughts, they will search for them when they are not present, and that takes them out of the present moment. Thoughts are like dreams—random and powerless, unless we believe them. If we do, we feel it, and our performance goes downhill. It doesn’t make sense to believe your thinking if you know it’s just an illusion that was made up. If you wrote a nasty letter to yourself, would you read it and get upset? Absolutely not. People say, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” I say, “Don’t believe everything you THINK.”

Ed Tseng is a peak performance consultant, best-selling author, keynote speaker and former USTA Pro of the Year. He works with elite athletes, business leaders, students, organizations, and individuals.

We all can relate sometimes! Get out of your head!

Dr. Meghan

Go to Source

Wednesday – Drink More Water

By William Imbo

When astronomers look for life in our solar system and beyond, the unifying factor that generates the most interest and excitement is the potential presence of water. Where there is water, there might just be life. Every organism we know of needs water to survive, and scientists have said that there’s no better substance better at sustaining life. So, if you didn’t already know, water is incredibly important to prolonging your life—given that our bodies are composed of roughly 60% of the stuff. For this reason, water consumption—or lack thereof—can have a profound impact on your athletic performance.

Here are 5 reasons why drinking water is crucial to your health and your gains.

1. Improves recovery time
During exercise, the body’s electrolyte balance can begin to shift. Electrolytes are minerals that break into small, electrically-charged particles called ions when they dissolve in water. Found in blood and cells, electrolytes are essential to physical activity because they regulate bodily fluids. During exercise, the body’s electrolyte balance can begin to shift. As the body loses electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can result in symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and mental confusion. And if the electrolyte supply stays low, muscles may continue to feel weak during your next WOD. So if you want to make sure your body is at full fighting force the next day, grab the H20 post-workout. Add a pinch of salt for a boost in electrolytes.

2. Helps to avoid dehydration
The American Council on Exercise states, “For regular exercisers, maintaining a constant supply of water in the body is essential to performance.” In one hour of exercise, the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on exercise intensity and air temperature. If the body doesn’t have enough water to cool itself through perspiration, it enters a state of dehydration. And this is not good. The list of ailments due to dehydration is extensive, and can severely impact an athlete during a WOD. They include heat stroke, muscle fatigue, lack of coordination, increased heart rate and headaches.

3. Important for healthy muscles and performance
I bet you didn’t know that water composes 75% of all muscle tissue and about 10% of fatty tissue. As legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin says, “Hydration is the greatest determinant of strength. A drop of 1.5% in water levels translates in a drop of 10% of your maximal strength. The leaner you are, the worse it is. Make sure you weigh the same or more at the end of your training session.” Drinking water helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins and increases nutrients absorbed from food—both key factors in building strength and maintaining high energy levels during a WOD.

4. Helps your mental game
Sodium chloride and potassium are the two chemicals that are needed for nerves to send electrical signals to your brain. A lack of water leads to electrolyte imbalances. If you are sending signals to your brain at a reduced speed, this means you are thinking slower and your body is reacting slower to what is going on when you train. Aside from losing track of how many reps you’ve done, this could severely affect your game plan for the WOD, your pacing and you may begin to struggle with movements that require more focus on technique.

5. Reduces joint and muscle pain and helps to increase your flexibility
Cartilage in the joint is 65 – 80% water. In fact, water is present in tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and it plays an important role in cushioning and lubricating joints and tissues so that they remain elastic. Water helps you maintain an adequate blood volume so that nutrients can move through your blood and into your joints. A helpful analogy is to think of our joints as if they were sponges. Two dry sponges are going to move against one another very well, but two wet ones will glide easily. Water also allows waste products to move out of the joints. Combined, this helps to reduce the pain you may experience in your joints and muscles during and after a workout—not to mention helping increase your range of motion when you work on your mobility.

Drinking too much water isn’t good either
Hyponatremia is a rare condition that occurs when there is not enough sodium in the body and usually comes about when athletes (particularly endurance athletes) drink too much water. If your sodium levels in your body are too low, your cells begin to swell with water, expanding your brain tissue and putting pressure on the brain. On top of that, it may also cause your lungs to fill with fluid. Symptoms of hyponatremia can include headaches, vomiting, and swelling of the hands and feet.

Not sure how much water to drink? The American Council on Exercise advises:

  • Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before the start of exercise.
  • Drink 8 ounces of fluid 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise or during warm-up.
  • Drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
  • Drink an additional 8 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after exercising.
  • Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.

For everyday consumption, the Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Go to Source

Tuesday – Shine Splints

Shin splints, the catch-all term for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints), are the bane of many athletes. They often plague beginning runners who do not build their mileage gradually enough or seasoned runners who abruptly change their workout regimen, suddenly adding too much mileage, for example, or switching from running on flat surfaces to hills.

The nature of shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), most often can be captured in four words: too much, too soon.

Common causes of shin splints

There can be a number of factors at work, such as overpronation (a frequent cause of medial shin splints), inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip from running on cambered roads or always running in the same direction on a track. Typically, one leg is involved and it is almost always the runner’s dominant one. If you’re right-handed, you’re usually right-footed as well, and that’s the leg that’s going to hurt.

The most common site for shin splints is the medial area (the inside of the shin). Anterior shin splints (toward the outside of the leg) usually result from an imbalance between the calf muscles and the muscles in the front of your leg, and often afflict beginners who either have not yet adjusted to the stresses of running or are not stretching enough.

But what exactly is a shin splint? There’s no end-all consensus among sports scientists, and theories have included small tears in the muscle that’s pulled off the bone, an inflammation of the periosteum [a thin sheath of tissue that wraps around the tibia, or shin bone], an inflammation of the muscle, or some combination of these. Fortunately, medical experts agree on how to treat them.

Treatment of shin splints

Experts agree that when shin splints strike you should stop running completely or decrease your training depending on the extent and duration of pain. Then, as a first step, ice your shin to reduce inflammation. Here are some other treatments you can try:

Gently stretch your Achilles if you have medial shin splints, and your calves if you have anterior shin splints. Also, try this stretch for your shins: Kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat.

In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg. Or alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat four times. These exercises are good for both recovery and prevention. Try to do them three times a day.

If you continue running, wrap your leg before you go out. Use either tape or an Ace bandage, starting just above the ankle and continuing to just below the knee. Keep wrapping your leg until the pain goes away, which usually takes three to six weeks. “What you’re doing is binding the tendons up against the shaft of the shin to prevent stress,” Laps says.

Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.

When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics.

Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.

Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until shin pain goes away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence.

If you frequently run on roads with an obvious camber, run out and back on the same side of the road. Likewise, when running on a track, switch directions.

If you are prone to developing shin splints, stretch your calves and Achilles regularly as a preventive measure.  Always take the time to warm up, roll out, stretch, ice.  And rest if your body is asking you too.

Hydrate in this heat and take care of you!

Dr. Meghan

Go to Source

Wednesday – Athletic Benefits of Caffeine

By William Imbo

Caffeine is the most popular drug in the world. It’s found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, chocolate and cola nuts, and its use is incredibly widespread. In the U.S. alone, over 100 million Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. In fact, coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world. Starbucks thanks you.

Because just about everyone is ingesting caffeine in one way or another, and it is so readily available (coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.) caffeine is no longer on the banned substance list of the International Olympic Committee. It is now listed as a “controlled or restricted substance”.

Caffeine is mainly popular because it functions as a mild stimulant—more on that later. As such, it helps wake us up and keeps us going when we feel like throwing in the towel. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that athletes are interested in those very same effects as it is applied to their sport. So, can caffeine help to enhance your athletic performance?

How does caffeine work?
To understand how caffeine might help you during a WOD, we need a quick biology lesson on how the drug works in the first place. Throughout the day, neurons (an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals) are firing in your body, which leads to the build-up of a neurochemical called adenosine. The nervous system uses special receptors to monitor your body’s adenosine levels. As the day wears on, more and more adenosine (a neuromodulator that plays a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal) passes through those receptors—and it makes you sleepy. It’s one of the reasons you get tired at night. Caffeine is believed to work by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain and other organs. This reduces the ability of adenosine to bind to the receptors, which would slow down cellular activity, and helps to keep you from getting tired.

But that’s not where coffee’s kick comes from. With the adenosine receptor clogged, neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate can get a head start. Adenosine has a calming effect because it slows the activity of nerve cells, whereas caffeine speeds up the activity of cells. Nerve cells that are stimulated by caffeine release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which increases heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to muscles, decreases blood flow to the skin and organs, and causes the liver to release glucose.

But the effects of caffeine can only last so long. It takes about four cups of coffee to block half of the brain’s adenosine receptors, so caffeine is quickly removed from the brain. However, continued exposure to caffeine leads to developing a tolerance to it. Tolerance causes the body to become sensitized to adenosine, so withdrawal causes blood pressure to drop, which can result in headaches and other symptoms. Too much caffeine can result in caffeine intoxication, which is characterized by nervousness, excitement, increased urination, insomnia, intestinal complaints, and sometimes hallucinations.

Caffeine and athletic performance
Caffeine works to reduce fatigue and increases our heart rate and blood flow to our muscles. It’s no surprise therefore that there have been numerous studies to examine how the effects of caffeine can be tailored to improve an athlete’s performance. Even the U.S. Military has researched the physiological effects of caffeine on hydration and performance, concluding that it “improves cognitive abilities, marksmanship, physical performance and overall vigilance, while preventing fatigue-related injuries and deaths.” From this research, the military actually developed a caffeine chewing gum called Stay Alert, with each piece containing 100 milligrams of caffeine, equivalent to a 6-ounce cup of coffee.

Starting as long ago as 1978, researchers have been publishing caffeine studies. And in study after study, they concluded that caffeine actually does improve performance. But in what ways?

Enhances endurance levels
Glycogen (a type of sugar in the body) is the principal fuel for muscles and exhaustion occurs when it is depleted. A secondary fuel, which is much more abundantly found in the body, is stored fat. As long as there is still glycogen available, working muscles can utilize fat. Caffeine mobilizes fat stores and encourages working muscles to use fat as a fuel. This delays the depletion of muscle glycogen and allows for a prolongation of exercise. The critical time period in glycogen sparing appears to occur during the first 15 minutes of exercise, where caffeine has been shown to decrease glycogen utilization by as much as 50%. Muscle glycogen is therefore preserved for longer, and is available for use as energy during the later stages of exercise, thus increasing endurance levels and delaying the onset of fatigue. In addition, because caffeine promotes the use of stored fat for energy rather than glycogen, you’ll also benefit from increased fat burning.

May reduces the effect of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
Remember how caffeine blocks the body’s receptors for adenosine, which helps us feel more energized? As it turns out, adenosine is also released by the body in response to inflammation, such as the type that occurs in our muscles after a grueling WOD. So if caffeine is acting to block adenosine, then not only are we going to feel more alert, we’re going to feel less sore after a workout, too. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research appears to support this. Nine “low caffeine consuming males” were blindly given either caffeine or a placebo one hour prior to completing sets of bicep curls. They received caffeine in proportion to their weight, with the average dose around 385mg. That’s about 2.5 cups of coffee. Then they performed a lot of bicep curls, finishing with a one max-effort set. Over the next few days the participants returned to the lab each day and reported their levels of soreness. Starting on day two, the caffeine group reported significantly lower levels of soreness compared to the placebo group. This difference continued each subsequent day, but was most drastic on days two and three. Soreness to the touch was also drastically different. The placebo group experienced significantly more pain when their biceps were touched up to two days after the test. There are of course some caveats to these findings, namely the fact that all the subjects were males (females may respond differently to caffeine), and they were all low caffeine consumers. The results may not be applicable to regular caffeine users, since they may be less sensitive to caffeine’s effect.

Considerations with caffeine
It is important to remember that despite the apparent benefits of using caffeine, it is still a drug and too much of it can actually have a negative impact on your health and performance. Over-consumption of caffeine can lead to insomnia, indigestion, headaches, irregular or fast heartbeat and dehydration.

Moderate caffeine intake is considered to be 250 mg (milligrams) per day. In research studies, the amount of caffeine that enhances performance ranges from 1.5 to 4 mg per pound of bodyweight taken one hour before exercise.

Recommendations for Athletes 
If you choose to use caffeine on competition day, here are a few tips that may help you maximize the benefits.

1. Take caffeine about 3 – 4 hours before the competition. Although blood levels of caffeine peak much sooner, the maximum caffeine effect on fat stores appears to occur several hours after peak blood levels.

2. Consider decreasing or abstaining from caffeine for 3 – 4 days prior to competition. This allows for any tolerance to caffeine to decrease and helps to ensure the maximum effect of the drug. Be careful though, because this may also lead to caffeine withdrawal.

3. Make sure you have used caffeine extensively under a variety of training conditions and are thoroughly familiar with how your body reacts to this drug. Never try anything new on competition day.

Go to Source

Wednesday – Time

 time

It’s amazing how much something as simple as time can effect our lives. Some of the more obvious are wishing for more time in the day, or wanting time to slow down during those much needed days off of work.  Then there’s time in the world of Crossfit. Crossfit absolutely gave me a new appreciation for time. From making sure that you’re at class early, to perfectly timing and coordinating your lifts to get the movement down just right (lets not forget the time cap of course), time is a pretty big deal. That in mind, here are two important things I have learned since starting Crossfit.

1. Form is everything. Of course this is what every coach has been telling us from day 1, but this is absolutely a learned behavior. Really folks, you can have poor form on lifts and still be able to lift a ton of weight and fly through WODs, but eventually you will hit a wall and will not be able to progress through your lifts as you would like. Unfortunately there is only one solution to this problem, drop in weight and fix your form. This will take TIME. Absolutely no shame in having to do this. I, myself, am guilty as charged and have had to do this a few times. I’m sure I will have to do this again too. No athlete wants to have to scale back down but, not only is it important for your own health and safety, over time you will develop habits to help achieve those heavier lifts. Even people like Rich Froning Jr. and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, who both of course make everything look ridiculously easy, work on their form constantly. Just about every athlete will have to do this at some point in their careers. There will always be an unspeakable amount of respect for those who work on this.

2. Remember to be patient with your progress. Once you’re past the Crossfit honeymoon phase, this easily has to be one of the hardest things to deal with. You see people coming off of on-ramp with big numbers on their lifts, a friend who seems like they’re constantly getting PR’s, maybe even there’s a movement you’ve been chasing and you’re very close to reaching your goal but haven’t. Regardless of what it is, it’s important to not get frustrated and remain patient. Letting our frustrations take over gets us no where. Give your Crossfit progression TIME to develop. Every person is different and we all seem to get different things faster than others. Don’t give up simply because it’s taking you what seems like 4,000 times as long as everyone else to get a movement down. Work hard at it, keep a level head, and with a little patience you can achieve anything you put your heart towards.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi

Go to Source

Wednesday – Meal Prepping

By William Imbo

Regardless of your diet goals or whether you choose to go Paleo or count macros, it’s important that you attack your plan the right way to give yourself the best chance of success. One way to attack clean eating for success is meal prepping.

Meal prepping is exactly what it sounds like: You buy food for a set period—a few days, a week, or even a month—cook and prepare the food in advance, store them in the fridge or freezer and voila! You’ve planned ahead and there’s a higher chance of you sticking to your plan than falling off the rails.

What are the benefits of meal prepping?
Saves time
If you never take time, how can you ever have it? By carving out a couple of hours on a Sunday to batch cook your meals for the next few days, you can be sure to save yourself a ton of grief and time when you come home from work or the box and find your next meal waiting for you in the fridge. Pop it in the microwave or oven, and you’re good to go. The last thing anyone wants to think about when they’re on their way home from a long day is having to make dinner. But when your meal is already prepped, it’s one less thing to worry about and makes eating clean that much more enjoyable.

Dissuades you from eating crap
When people are tired and hungry the thought of preparing and consuming a clean meal becomes less appealing to a pizza that takes 10 minutes cook in the oven and requires no work whatsoever. When a healthy meal is already staring back at you when you open the fridge, time isn’t a factor anymore, and that pizza can wait another week.

It’s cost-efficient
The first time you buy in bulk, that monster receipt might make you do a double-take. Be prepared to shell out a little more than you normally would for groceries. Knowing where (and how) to shop for groceries, can save you money. Often stores like Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and Aldi will have some amazing deals (including organic options) you can take advantage of. On top of that, buying for the week means you’ll be less likely to spend any extra on particular cravings you have from meal to meal—like that pizza we discussed earlier.

Tips for Meal Prepping
Plan ahead
Just as you need to carve out a few hours to cook and prepare your meals, you need to devote 10-15 minutes to formulate a solid food list for the length of time you’re planning to prepare for. You should also include some substitute food options in case they’re out of stock of your first choice.

Invest in good quality containers
You’re going to be making a lot of food, so it stands to reason that you’re going to need a lot of containers to keep all those delicious meals tucked away in the fridge and freezer. Moreover, you’ll likely bring a container or two with you when you go to work, and the last thing you want is for the lid to fall off in your bag and the food to spill out everywhere. Glass containers are great, but need to be handled carefully. Find containers that work for you and don’t shy away from spending a few extra dollars as the investment will go a long way in the end.

Carve out time to meal prep and make it fun
Set aside enough time to get cooking. Plan to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen, boiling, baking and frying away to your heart’s content. Many people might enjoy this, but it can be torture for others—you’ll just have to keep the big picture in mind. Also, consider listening to your favorite music or podcast while you chop away. That being said, you don’t have to cook absolutely everything in one go. You can prep vegetables and season your meats and leave them in the fridge to be cooked another time—that should help to take the load off a little bit!

Prep snacks too
CrossFit has a way of spiking your metabolism, making you feel hungrier between meals. These are the make-or-break hours when the convenience of a cookie or a bag of chips is incredibly tempting. Therefore, it’s just as important to prepare your snacks for days ahead, as it is your meals. Have your fruit, nuts, shakes, or leftovers readily available so when the hunger creeps up—and it will—you’ll be reaching for the right option to satisfy your cravings.

Keep it simple and start slow
If you’re new to meal prepping, there’s no right way to do it. There may be a lot of trial and error, but it’s all about finding and developing a method that works for you. If the process sounds intimidating, work with manageable chunks—one to two days at a time, at first. Then move on to three to four, then five, and so on. And as you’re progressing, you can get a little more creative with your menu, but start with simple meals, some bacon, avocado and grilled chicken with some balsamic vinegar. Doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. You’re eating to achieve your diet goals.

Be patient with the process yet remain consistent. Eventually, meal prepping—making a list, doing your shopping and preparing your meals—will become second-nature, and that’s when you’ll know you’re on a roll, and the results will invariably follow.

Go to Source