by Admin | February 19, 2019 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Kerri Whalen, E4 Nutrition
The season of the CrossFit Open is upon us! We all approach the open with great anticipation and planning around strategy, movement timing, rest between movements and how to maximize our efficiency with movements that might be a bit harder. We focus so much attention on the actual workout and with good reason. What we sometimes forget is that much of our success (or failure) with the WOD is actually not about the actual WOD at all, but what we are feeding our bodies with before and after. Nutrition is something that you should consider thinking about all year long but it can be especially critical as we approach this competition season. Take this year’s open as the perfect opportunity to start thinking about your food as fuel and how you can optimize your nutrition to optimize your performance.
What exactly does this mean? It can mean different things for different people. Food choices are just as important as food timing and how your body responds to certain foods is different for everyone. However, there are a few simple guidelines that will work for most people and are pretty simple to build into your weeks leading into and during the Open. .
Pre-workout time is considered to be anywhere from three hours to about 30 minutes before your workout. The primary purpose of your pre-workout meal is to fuel your training. This is the optimal time to consume some carbohydrates and if you can top off your glycogen stores with some higher glycemic carbs this can allow higher intensity output. For all you white rice and sweet potato fans this is a great time to eat these foods. Here are a few other options for your pre-workout nutrition:
- One to two hours before your workout consume a meal with protein and carbs and very little fat. Fats can slow down absorption of nutrients and digestion and can make you feel full which you don’t want as you get ready to pick up a barbell or kip on the rig.
- Some examples of some good carbohydrate and protein combinations are; rice and chicken, sweet potatoes and chicken, egg whites and rice, potatoes and egg whites, rice cakes and sliced turkey.
- Keep pre-workout meal sizes relatively small. Think ¼ cup – ½ cup of a carb source and about 2-3 ounces of protein.
- Focus on quick digestible carbs and whole foods. This is not always the best time for protein shakes or protein and carb powders. Liquids are digested within 30 – 60 minutes and so they may not provide the fuel you really need.
The goal of this meal is to calm the stress response from training and start the recovery process. This is a great time for some more of those carbohydrates as your body is primed to use them to restore glycogen and not store them as body fat. Here are some options for Post Workout nutrition:
- For the average person you want to think 25g of carbs and 25g of protein. This is a great time for a whey protein shake and a post-workout carb source/powder that includes highly branched cyclic dextrin.
- It is recommended avoiding fats in your post-workout meal to prevent delayed digestion and any GI upset.
- Another great option is a protein shake with a fruit squeeze or protein shake that includes sweet potatoes and maybe some berries and greens.
- If you are able to consume a meal right after your workout you want to consume easily digestible protein and carbohydrates such as chicken, egg whites, rice and potatoes.
This is very individualized and some people prefer training fasted and if it is working for you – keep doing it! If the Open workout is a gymnastics style workout, training fasted might be an advantage but if the workout is strength based you might want to consider being fully fueled beforehand. If you prefer to train fasted, try some BCAAs or EAAs pre-workout. Your post-workout nutrition will be even more important if you are working out fasted so definitely focus on consuming something immediately after your workout.
If you are an early morning warrior who does not perform well with food before your workout, consider loading up on carbs the night before. They can serve as your pre-workout and help fuel you through your early morning session.
A Few Other Things To Consider
The Open is not the time to try new foods or pre-workout supplements. Stick with foods that you know your body responds well to and are easily digestible. If you have never really paid much attention to your pre and post workout nutrition before, spend the first part of this week experimenting. Try out a few different options and pay close attention to how you are feeling to evaluate what does and does not work for you.
How you perform in the Open (and quite frankly in CrossFit throughout the year) definitely has a lot to do with consistent training and nutrition throughout the year BUT it also has a lot to do with other factors such as sleep, recovery and stress. The best way to prepare for an Open workout is to make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep in the nights leading up to the workout and that you have taken some time for your body to rest and recover earlier in the week. If you are under extra stress in the weeks leading up to or during the Open it will be even more important for you to focus on proper nutrition, rest and recovery.
CrossFit is an incredibly demanding sport and taxing on the body. The CrossFit Open is a great opportunity to test what you have been working on all year and step outside of your comfort zone. The Open can be nerve wracking to prepare for because you have to be ready for whatever goes up on the whiteboard. The programmed workout is out of your control – that is part of the fun of being in the Open. What you can control is your nutrition going into the workout. Using your food as fuel can ensure that you are consistently prepared and ready to give each workout your personal best.
Are you unsure about the best pre and post workout fuel for you? Want to talk through your nutrition strategy a little bit? Reach out to me! I would love to schedule a time to talk with you and make sure that you have a good nutrition strategy in place so that you can CRUSH the Open.
by Admin | September 4, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Congrats to those who made the August Committed Club!
This month, we had 3 people make it into the Committed Club for 12 months straight: Joann Doyka, Randi Hyatt, and Jim Timmerman. Chris Day also made it into the 6 month Committed Club and earned his tee!
by Admin | August 16, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Jessica White
Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up on fire? A surge of energy for whatever the day holds. Today was one of those days for me. I got 8.5 hours of solid sleep. It was a miracle. Baby Gavin, Stan, and I all slept. All night. It has felt like a long time since I’ve slept like that and I woke up feeling like a whole new person. Ready for whatever the day throws at me and then some. The task list started running through my head, along with an abundance of new ideas to add to that task list. I was so motivated.
This got me thinking about a conversation I had last week before the 9:30 am class with Russell. We talked about how far he has come with his health and fitness in the past year and what kind of effort that took for him. He reflected that there was never any huge breakthrough or sudden results from a surge of effort. It was little by little. Brick by brick. Day by day. He then said to me, a common quote, “motivation is fleeting.” It takes consistent work even when you aren’t motivated to get results.
Success comes to those who are disciplined enough to put in the work even when they aren’t feeling motivated. We all have those periods when we feel energized and jazzed up, when putting in the extra effort is desirable and fun. We need those moments to get us through. But, we aren’t going to feel like this every day, or even most of the time. It’s the days when you “just don’t feel like it” that leave the most room for growth. While Stan and I were working on building Outsiders, if we would have only worked on the days that we felt like it, the doors would have never opened. We didn’t make Outsiders happen because we are exceptionally motivated people. It took, and still takes, a ton of discipline (and a TON of help from some super awesome people). There are so many days that I don’t feel like going back to the gym to workout. Even more so now that we have a tiny energizer bunny-like 9 month old. I have all the excuses. But I reluctantly get in the car, drive to the gym and walk through those doors. And I am better for it.
Long term success lies in doing it when you don’t want to. Cooking that healthy meal when it’s hard to find time, going to the gym when you don’t feel like it, waking up early when you’re tired, doing work when you’d rather relax. Today I feel motivated. Tomorrow I may not. When you feel motivated, take advantage of it. Use those days to do cool things, but don’t get carried away. Save some gas in the tank for tomorrow, because you never know how you might feel. Feelings don’t last. Discipline does.
How do you feel today? Regardless of your answer, put one foot in front of the other and get it done. A year from today you will be so happy you did.
by Admin | July 27, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Stan White
Think back to when you first started CrossFit. You were a bit nervous but were even more motivated to better yourself. Maybe you wanted to lose 10 pounds and have more energy to play with the kids. Or maybe, you wanted to be as strong as you were when you played high school or college athletics. Whatever your initial reason, it motivated you to get started even though life was hectic. You had no idea where you were going to find an extra hour 3 to 5 hours per week to fit in the gym.
And then it happened! You drank the proverbial CrossFit Kool-Aid. You were hooked. Not only were you well on your way to your initial goals but you saw much broader benefits. Your knee no longer hurt every time you got out of bed. You seem to be thinking clearer and getting through work more efficiently. Your spouse has not just noticed your physical changes but comments how you seem more positive and thoughtful. You are so astounded by all the positive effects, you simply must share this with everyone!
Some of your friends and family rolled their eyes and told you that you had joined a cult. Others listen because they could tell you had changed. Your parents decide they will do The Whole 30 Challenge with you. As a result, your dad is able to significantly reduce his heart medication. You decide you not only want to be an influence with your family and friends but you want to be a leader at the box. You make sure to welcome all of the newcomers and cheer on everyone as they finish with a fist pump.
As time goes on, you notice that you are not the only one who as seen dramatic changes. Sally, who started a couple weeks after you, looks like a completely new person and mentioned how she just got promoted. In fact, the gym is full of the best people. They all seem to be humble, willing to help others and constantly trying to improve all aspects of themselves. Clearly, this is one of the best groups of people you have ever known.
Let’s do a little thought experiment. Imagine the City of Baltimore, with 20 CrossFit gyms around the beltway that had this type of impact. Would that make for a better metro area in general? Now imagine a state that had several cities that were filled with CrossFit boxes that are impacting lives and community this way. Do you think the healthcare crisis in this nation would be influenced if a majority of the states had cities filled with CrossFit boxes making last changes? The western world is facing a tsunami of chronic disease. Our gym, along with thousands of others around the world, are the lifeboat from this modern plaque of death and destruction. While we make ourselves better, we are making our communities better. We are making our little corner of the world a little better, one rep, one workout at a time.
by Admin | July 17, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Colette Wheeler
As written. As prescribed. RX.
The elusive temptress of any CrossFitter. A sweet siren song luring even the most experienced of athletes into its clutches. For some reason, checking the “RX” box for a workout has become a badge of honor. It seems to represent one’s level of athleticism and “worth” within the gym. If you can click “RX”, then you have arrived.
Arrived at what, though? In a fitness sphere brimming over with data points and objective measures (weight, distance, time) that are always consistent, the label “RX” is anything but consistent or measureable. It is a label that matures as the sport of CrossFit grows and changes. It is a “living” concept that alters in order to meet the needs of its particular, ever-evolving population.
Here’s a perfect example: In the 2009 CrossFit Games, the RX weight for a dumbbell movement was 40# for men and 25# for ladies. Nine years later in 2018, the RX dumbbell weight for the CrossFit Open was 50# for men/35# for ladies; in Regionals it was 70# for men/50# for ladies; and in The Games it is likely to be even heavier. They asked more of all of us in 2018 then they did the fittest in the world in 2009!! So which of these weights is “RX” then? All of them. You see the problem? They’re all prescribed for particular workouts. We must breakdown and discover what each prescription is all about.
A workout prescription has two (unequal) parts:
2) INTENDED STIMULUS
In essence, a workout prescription reads: “Manage all the things in #1 IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE #2.” Thing is, “intended stimulus” is a bit abstract compared to the information that precedes it. It takes a serious amount of coachability, reflection, and monitoring to get it right. It’s hard. Wah.
We naturally latch on to the clear, objective quantities given to us in #1. Ya, it feels pretty cool loading up a heavy barbell, doing the fancy gymnastics, struggle-bussing through a distance -- but without hitting the intended stimulus we’ve missed out on some awesome opportunities for fitness that day. CrossFit is all about adaptation to a stimulus (awesome blog post on that here), so that second part of the prescription is like, THE KEY to your success and your fitness.
Solution? Monitor, reflect, and be coachable. It only takes a little practice to get a hang of this thing. During a workout, objectively monitor how things are going: How are you feeling? Are you hitting the target set/rep/rest goals given to you by the coach? Are you moving with integrity and purpose?
Coach Stan’s programming (as “RX”) is designed to challenge the top five people in the gym. It is actually intended for most athletes to choose a scale (volume, weight, movement etc.) that will allow them to push as hard as the top people in the gym. Without guidance, the novice will rush to the heavier weights and harder gymnastic movements so they can click the RX button more often. While they may get a temporary boost to the ego, their fitness results will slow. Heavy weights and difficult gymnastics often requires us to rest way more then we should in the typical ten to fifteen minute CrossFit WOD. The magic happens when we choose a version of the workout that allows us to keep our foot on the gas the whole time. **Plot twist**: a properly scaled workout is the fastest route to fitness.
After the workout, reflect on how it all shook out for you: Were you totally crushed at the end? If so, were you supposed to be totally crushed? Coach said a target range for finishing was 10-12 minutes -- did you finish in that range? What would you change or keep the same for the next time a workout like that comes around?
Most importantly (and ultimately this requires the least about of brainpower), be coachable. Coaches want you to be the best, fittest, happiest you. We’re here to take care of all that monitoring and reflecting for you. By making yourself coachable, you put yourself first. It’s your fitness that you’re working for; your goals that you’re striving toward, and your success that you’re recording. It’s all about you. So make it all about you. Not about the other guy/lady/person you’re trying to beat in class or on the leaderboard.
Fitness is this incredibly long, arduous, rewarding journey. It’s not meant to end. There are ups and downs; days when you will click “RX” and other days when you will (proudly, knowingly, shrewdly) not click “RX”. Through your own reflection, monitoring, and coachability you can become a better, stronger, faster, fitter version of you.
Congrats to those who made the June Committed Club!
Special shout out to those who made it for 6 months staight: Amanda Shrout, Brian Stamp, Diane Strickland, Dominic Levis, Jay Duffy, Marie Dias, Nick Hollander, and Rachel Shevland.
One special lady made it for 12 consecutive months. Hats off to the one and only Patty Abbott and the fabulous Kerri Whalen!!
June Committed Club:
Patty Abbott - 26
Olivia D'ottavio - 25
Zach Colgan - 25
Jim Timmerman - 24
Caitlin Abbott - 23
Marc Cousins - 23
Lance Hubbell - 23
Jason Moneymaker - 23
Matt Shrout - 23
Chris Day - 23
Elena Mentzer - 23
Randi Hyatt - 23
Jackie Nicoll - 22
Rick Doyka - 22
Jeff Starling - 22
Bruce Lentz - 22
Kerri Whalen - 22
Joshua Garland - 22
Marie Dias - 21
Brian Whalen - 21
Dana Beziat - 21
Dominic Levis - 21
Kristyn Lipka - 21
Erinn Hull - 21
Michael Grant - 21
Brian Stamp - 21
Russell Ward - 21
Jay Duffy - 21
Ashley Greenberg - 21
Shelton Lowery - 20
Joann Doyka - 20
Rachel Shevland - 20
Kaleigh Hunt - 20
Breanna Nelson - 20
Amanda Shrout - 20
Nick Hollander - 20
Cara Clements - 20
Rose Wall - 20
Lauren Trainor - 20
Diane Strickland - 20
Chris Wheeler - 20
Written by: Colette Wheeler
Water, water everywhere, but how much should I drink? When should I hydrate? Before a workout? After a workout? During?! When I sat down to write this, I originally thought I’d write about how it was really important to stay hydrated (and it is!), but as I waded out further into the waters (pun absolutely intended), some interesting ideas came to light. To be clear, I make no hard and fast recommendations here (except for the bolded part at the bottom), but these are some things that could be interesting to think about as the summer months progress...
As it turns out, it’s really very hard to determine a measure of how much to drink. Decades of research on the topic of hydration still produces incredibly polarized results. The debate revolves around the dangers of dehydration and its lesser known (but just as sinister) sibling, Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia (EAH). Both conditions are characterized by electrolyte imbalance in the bloodstream. Put simply, sodium and other electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium) enable muscle contractions and brain and nerve function within the body. There’s a delicate balance between concentration of fluid in the blood and these valued electrolytes. Most of us are familiar with dehydration: too little water = too much sodium in the blood. If you’re dehydrated, your precious red blood cells look like shriveled raisins. But hyponatremia? That’s having too much water, causing dilution of sodium in the blood. A person suffering from hyponatremia has red blood cells that look like balloons about to burst. Certainly not ideal. People die from both of these conditions. Sadly, people that die from hyponatremia are often just trying to follow the hydration recommendations set out by companies and their associates that campaign for us to drink as much as humanly possible.
There’s a lot of information out there, often contradictory. On the one hand, we have researchers like Tim Noakes, and organizations like CrossFit and the HEAT (Heat Illness Evaluation Avoidance and Treatment) Institute, all claiming that humans evolved a fantastic thirst regulation system in the brain to alert the body when it needs to consume fluids (we don’t actually have to stuff ourselves full of as much fluid as we can hold in order to avoid dehydrating). On the other hand we have sports drink companies, that shell out millions on research to prove their product is absolutely essential to our survival (how we managed to survive as a species prior to the 1960s we may never know). Sports drink manufacturers are so intent on convincing the public of the need of their product that they establish and fund their own research institutes. Additionally, they partner with well known, nationally recognized exercise and health organizations to bolster the legitimacy of their claims and further increase their sales. Hyponatremia has caused several deaths in the very recent past, many linked directly to massive overconsumption of both water and sports drinks. Yikes!
So what should we do? Our body has built-in regulatory systems to let us know when to drink -- we get thirsty. Unlike our hijacked hunger-regulatory systems that have been knocked all out of whack by industrial ingredients, piles of sugar, and hyper-palatable processed foods, our body’s mechanism for thirst regulation is still fully operational.
Of course, it’s not so black and white in real life -- all things we ingest interact to create different responses in the body. You’re a lot more thirsty after eating a super salty soft pretzel than an apple. If you’re concerned about your hydration, there is a simple answer for you: drink water. Put down the sodas, the juices, the bottled iced teas, and just drink water. You’ll set yourself up for success in more ways than one! This will dramatically lower the possibility of dehydration in your next workout! In fact, if you replace most beverages with water, you won’t need that mid-WOD water break. I mean, are you really truly thirsty every 90 seconds or do you use the water bottle as a nice break before your next round? Most likely, it is the latter.
So anyway, there’s some food (or water) for thought. Summer months can be brutal in and out of the gym. If you’re thirsty after reading this, grab a glass of water. You earned it. Now get back to doing that awesome thing you were doing.
Resources and associated interesting reads:
by Admin | June 3, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Congrats to Rose Wall, Dana Beziat, Breanna Nelson and Matt Shrout who all made it 6 months consecutively in the committed club!
by Admin | May 16, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Colette Wheeler
We often read or hear of the people that started CrossFit and suddenly changed their lives around and became amazing and healthy and never ate pizza or candy again. Their journeys are fast and furious; their lives are made amazing and sustainable; they cure their diseases, improve their relationships, become President of Everything; grow wings and fly. Their stories are incredible. They’re inspiring and hopeful, full of grit and determination.
Well, my story doesn’t go like that. I began CrossFitting in December 2010. I was 24. I was only weeks out from a year-long string of surgeries and hospital stays. I was horribly depressed. I was weak and lost. I had a shaved head, fresh scars, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. In short, I was completely, utterly broken.
My first year, I was amazed that people could even do pull-ups. I could never remember the difference between a clean and a snatch. I always got the strict press, push press, and push jerk mixed up (they probably all looked the same when I did them anyway). I was terrified of being upside-down. Overhead squats were a definite NO. One thing I had learned to do was drink, so when someone said that “100 pull-ups and 100 shots of beer” was a thing, I thought that would be a pretty cool goal.
As years went by, I went in for almost any athletic opportunity offered by the gym. I decided to try out their powerlifting program because I really wanted to be able to squat like..100 pounds. So I did that and got strong. I got a pull-up, too. Then, I took my newfound strength and plugged it back into CrossFit, and I did a round of custom personal training with a specific competition in mind. That was fun. Then I did some olympic lifting training. That was cool, too. Then I wanted to learn to coach. I ended up at a different gym, and coached there for a few years.
Through all of this, I didn’t make massive nutritional or skill gains. True, every once in awhile I accidentally did something that resembled a new skill, but not really on purpose, and not with much (if any) fanfare. Nutritionally, I cut out processed carbs somewhere in 2012 because I was curious to see what that would be like. That didn’t have much direction, and I still consumed plenty--if not more--processed carbs via booze. It was like playing darts upside down with a blindfold on. I tried some nutrition challenges, but they always started on a weekend and lasted about two hours until I went out to the bars with my friends.
It really wasn’t until 2017 (SEVEN YEARS LATER) that I got a handle on like, how I well I could eat and how great it could make me feel. I was eating great, and suddenly my workouts were great, and heyo I got a dang ring muscle-up. And some cool lifting PRs. And my anxiety and depressive states became more manageable. So that’s how I eat now. Not because I decided to drink the Kool-aid and take a blind leap of faith, but because I’d literally done everything I possibly could to avoid eating well. It is just abundantly clear that eating “dirty” is unsustainable to the life I want to lead.
So those of you trying out this whole lifestyle change thing -- you have to make it your own. You have to want it; you have to need it. You have to be patient with yourself, and you have to acknowledge your weaknesses with an open heart. You gotta own it past the 28-day prescription. Whatever you do, don’t be lured into the idea that everyone gets it on their first try. There’s no magic bullet. Even when you get a handle on your nutrition, there are ups, downs, turnarounds, and dead-stops. But that’s ok. Read, listen to, and be inspired by other people’s journeys, but don’t compare them with your own. You do YOU, and you can be successful.
by Admin | May 2, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
A big congrats to Kristyn Lipka, Russell Ward, and Jackie Nicoll who have made it in the Committed Club for 12 months straight!
Another shout out to Olivia D'Ottavio, Travis Gillispie, Sarah Wilhelm and Elena Mentzer for making it into the Committed Club for 6 months straight!
Hats off to all of our April Committed Club!!