Finding YOUR Workout of the Day

Most basketball players always end their practice by making a shot. Some great players will even commit to making 10 shots in a row before hitting the showers. This helps them develop a winning mindset and lets them leave on a good note.

Oftentimes when it comes to fitness however we take the opposite approach. We either grind ourselves into a fine powder. Doing more and more until we leave exhausted. Or on the other end of the spectrum…leave feeling like we didn’t accomplish that much and had more in the tank.

 

Finding the right balance of volume and intensity is an ongoing battle. Sleep, nutrition, and a whole host of other factors affecting recovery must be taken into consideration. A workout that crushes you on one day may feel like a walk in the park on another. Many folks are now utilizing devices like Whoop or an Oura Ring to track their “daily readiness” for training. Any information and tangible data is great feedback from your body but then you have to know how to use it. Your best option is always going to be working with a coach who has experience training athletes with a similar training age and goals as you have. They might even know better than you what your body is capable of. They will also know the right scales and adjustments to make on the fly to make sure you are getting the most out of your training.

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu

So how do you leave the gym with confidence in your performance? Make sure that every action you take aligns with your goals. If you know you’ll feel better by cranking up the intensity then end your session with a quick sprint on the air bike or rower. Choose modalities that won’t beat up your body or take away from the next day’s training session. If the workout is kicking your butt and you will feel guilty if you don’t finish it then see what scales or adjustments you can make that will make you better without crushing you. Back off the weight to focus on a slow controlled tempo with perfect form.

If you need help getting the most out of your training try connecting with one of our coaches to see what recommendations they have!

Run For Your Life

Depending on your sport you may or may not have dedicated time to your running technique. Even if your goals are focused on lifting heavy, knowing the proper way to run is beneficial and can be incorporated into any training routine. Adjusting the volumes and time domains around running is up to you and your coach but learning this skill is essential.

 

As humans our bodies have developed both the anatomy and energy systems to make us highly capable runners. It can be a great way to break up your training, provides you a chance to get into nature, and can be a great form of meditation.

“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.” – Steve Prefontaine

 

Running and Genetics
In the early evolution of humans we developed several characteristics that lead us to be exceptional long distance runners. The muscles of the legs and glutes grew stronger, our feet got bigger, our ability to cool down via sweating improved, and our brains improved at maintaining homeostasis during rigorous endurance activities. This allowed us to become “persistence hunters,” tracking animals for long distances until they were too worn out to put up a fight.

Recreational Running
Fast forward to today. Long distance running and other feats of endurance are primarily recreational as we rarely need to hunt in order to eat. Running now optional, it has become a skill that some use and others lose. Running however, is part of what makes us human. It can only be assumed that having evolved and adapted as runners to optimize our physical health, running would play an important role.

Mental Health Benefits
Not only does running keep our body healthy but it also stimulates brain growth and function as well. Findings at the University of Liverpool found that “Aerobic exercise increases anterior hippocampus size. This expansion is linked to the improvement of memory, which reflects the improvement of learning as a function of running activity in animal studies.” Aerobic activity like running actually helps our brain improve function. Not only that but it can be a great way to sort out thoughts and clear your head when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Plus the release of endorphins provides an instant mood boost!

If you care about squatting, nutrition, and mobility but can’t remember the last time you ran more than a mile it might be time to lace up. If you have questions or you are not sure where to start, talk to one of our trainers that can teach you the proper mechanics for running, sprinting, and other essential skills.

Conquer COVID-19 with Vitamin D

Facemasks have become the new normal, but are you doing everything you can to stay healthy? Now that the world is starting to open back up, you may have some anxiety about what you can do to help protect you and your family from contracting the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.

A recent discovery made it clear that supplementing Vitamin D could help stave off this unwanted virus. How do you know if you need to supplement this essential vitamin? Let’s dive into the function of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that your body needs to function optimally. It’s generated in skin by UVB rays that come from the sun hitting your skin.

 

The catch is that you have to absorb the right amount of sun and have it actually penetrate the skin to have this vitamin do it’s thing in your body. Vitamin D has many other important functions, but most importantly for covid-19, is how it acts on your immune system.

Here’s an excerpt from the renowned Dr. Rhonda Patrick investigating and involved in the research during this pandemic:

“Since vitamin D insufficiency is widespread (and perhaps exacerbated in quarantine conditions, due to limited sunlight exposure), supplemental vitamin D might be a viable means to increase vitamin D to sufficient levels.
Maintaining a healthy vitamin D status, an imminently solvable but often ignored problem, may turn out to be an important factor in protecting against susceptibility to lung injury in COVID-19.” (FoundMyFitness, Dr. Rhonda Patrick https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/vitamin-d-covid-19)

Most people have insufficient levels because we wear clothes, work inside all day and wear sunscreen to protect our skin. This will block your absorption of UVB rays making you susceptible to Vitamin D insufficiency. In fact, 70% in the US have this insufficiency, and 29% of the US are actually deficient. Not to mention if you live in the Northern latitude states, above the 37th parallel, the risk of deficiency increases causing a myriad of other health issues aside from immune function.

So what can you do? Daily supplements of Vitamin D for you and your family have been shown to greatly reduce the risk for acute respiratory tract infections.

If increasing your immune defense system doesn’t turn you on, did you know that Vitamin D wards off depression? Depression rates have increased an astounding 65% since the beginning of the pandemic. With most of us quarantining and forced to stay inside, I’m sure you can see how easily this can happen. If you’re not into supplements, think about adding salmon in your diet a few times a week, a food extremely rich in Vitamin D. Stay healthy and happy, folks!

The 4 Best Lateral Movements to Include in your Training Regimen

Lateral movements often get overlooked, but these kinds of movements are actually the best way to prevent injuries and increase your athleticism. Lateral movements are the side to side movements you see in sports and are key to a healthier you.

Things like running, walking, cooking, weight lifting-these all happen forward to backwards. This is where we spend most of our time and can actually create deficiencies in our joints and muscles when we only train these movements on a regular basis. Lack of training lateral movements can result in knee injuries and other various sprained or torn ligaments.

The best way to avoid these deficiencies and strengthen any underused joint or muscle is obvious: train lateral movement.

Add these movements on to your weekly workout routines as a pre workout warm-up or post workout cool down. It will do wonders for your fitness training and longevity.

 

Here is a great place to start. Try to complete three rounds of 12-15 reps of the following:

Side Planks

Trains the obliques or the “sides” of your core musculature. Planks are a static movement. The goal is to resist breaking the side plank position. Whether you are positioned on your elbow or stacked on an extended hand, focus on maintaining a solid midline and touching your top hip to the ceiling. This will prevent any sagging on the working side. Hold for 10-15 seconds, gradually increasing as it gets too easy, repeat for 10-12 reps.

Side leg raises

These can be performed laying down or standing. If you’re looking for extra points, try these standing to challenge your balance. Standing on one leg, while activating your core, gaze straight out at a fixed point. Once you feel balanced, flex your foot (toes towards the shin, and pointed forward) and raise your heel as far up as you can until you feel a contraction on the outside of your hip. You can use a wall or chair for some extra balance. This exercise trains the outsides of the legs, strengthening and protecting the ligaments and muscles around the knee and hip joints.

Side Lunges/ cossack squats

This exercise helps with knee and ankle mobility. It trains outsides of legs, balance, stability, and ankle mobility. Begin with your feet together and step out with the right leg into a wide sumo stance. Begin to sit back putting all of your wait on your right leg as you send your weight down and back. Go as far as is comfortable. You can drive out on this leg back to a neutral standing position, then repeat on the left, or you can gently send your weight through the middle and lunge into the left side. This variation would be more like a cossck squat rather than a side lunge. Do what you are most comfortable with. While completing this movement, notice if your knee is tracking in line with your toe. If you can’t see your big toe on the inside of your knee, chances are you’re letting your knees cave it, which would not be great for your knee joints. When in doubt, grab a coach to get this one dialed in.

Lateral Box Step ups

Trains legs, core, outside of knees, insides of knees, ankles and balance. Stand on the side of a lower box, adjusting the height as necessary. Balancing on the outer leg, use your inner leg (closest to the box) to drive your weight and step up and onto the box, leaving your outside leg to float at the top, then slowly lower onto the outside leg and step down off of the box. Start at a low height and work up to a place you feel challenged, but secure.

Lateral movements are important to incorporate into your workout routines. If all else fails, grab your weightlifting partner and turn up the Cotton Eye Joe.

Happy side stepping!

The Top Three Supplements for Healthy Digestion

How do you judge your gut health? Do you base it on having a stomach ache or not? A stomach ache isn’t the only identifying factor that sheds light on digestive issues. Discomforts are only a piece of the pie when it comes to having a healthy digestive system.

 

So why should you care about your digestive health? Digestion is responsible for turning all of the food we eat into something useful for our body. If you have weak digestion, your absorption of essential nutrients, your mood and of course bowel related pains become an issue. We need to make sure it is functioning at its best to ensure a healthy body.

Here are the top three supplements healthy digestion:

  • L- Glutamine:
    This amino acid is responsible for a lot of different functions in the body. Your body produces this naturally, but it can also be taken as a supplement. This amino amplifies the function of your digestive system, which means optimum nutrient absorption and organ health.
  • Pre & Probiotics:
    Your gut is home to hundreds of microorganisms helping to aid your immune system and digest your food properly. These wee little beasties also known as bacteria are largely responsible for the productive breakdown of nutrients in foods.

Pre and probiotics make sure that your body is housing quality bacteria, instead of others that may promote disease and discomfort. These healthy bacteria can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurts, but also come in a pill form.

  • Fiber:
    This one is a no brainer. You’ve probably heard of it from your doctor or on the latest health supplement commercial. Having fiber in your diet helps to relieve your digestive tract of waste. If you don’t get enough, you become quite literally full of **it. This can lead to bloating, pain, an overgrowth of bad bacteria and essentially poor digestion. Fiber is important to include in your diet. Vegetables, fruits and some grains are natural sources of fiber. If you think you’re not getting enough, have a conversation with your doctor about how you can go about supplementing it. If you’re consuming fiber, be sure to focus on getting the recommended amount of water in your diet too, since fiber can’t do its job without it.

Nutrient breakdown starts with digestion and nutrients are the building blocks of your body. If you’re spending anytime in the gym trying to be healthy, don’t overlook the tool that helps fuel your engine. What’s your gut feeling?

Why now is the best time to start a new fitness routine

6 months ago the thought of a worldwide quarantine would have seemed laughable.

No travel, dining out, or social interaction…it’s an interesting thought, but that will NEVER happen. There’s just no way.

And then it did.

 

And maybe you responded well. You took advantage of the free time. You took on home projects you’ve been talking about doing forever. Maybe you actually started to read more books, learned to cook, or actually called your relatives.

Or maybe you struggled. Isolation got the best of you. You fell off the wagon. Working from home became the bulk of your day. Maybe your health and fitness took a hit.

The question is…what are you going to do about it?

You have a tremendous opportunity in front of you. The world is opening back up and you have a chance to become the person you want to be. You know, the cool stylish YOU that always knows what to say, has it all together, and looks dayyumn good naked.

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” -Seth Godin

This is an opportunity, because the world is different than the one that was locked up months ago. Whether you were successful or struggling before COVID hit the globe doesn’t really matter. A lot of successful people fell off their high horse. A lot of new companies have grown and thrived. There are new opportunities emerging everyday. They might not look like the plans you had before this began. Your New Year’s resolutions or goals from January may have to be tossed out the window.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” -Lao Tzu

This may be the single best chance to reinvent yourself that shows up in your lifetime. It’s time to start doing all the things you have been dreaming about doing.

Now you have the chance to step into the life you’ve always wanted. If any part of you values your health and wants to feel energy and confidence then a weekly training regimen and successful strategy for eating, sleeping, and managing stress are essential.

You might have some ideas of what to do. Maybe you have tried diets in the past or dropped into exercise classes that you enjoyed or had a routine that you stuck with for a few months. The point is if you are not doing it right now then it’s time to look in the mirror.

Address what you see and decide if you’re happy with what you see?

Compassion and self-love is important. So is self-care and wanting better for yourself. It’s okay to not be happy where you are at. You have an opportunity in front of you to change. To grow. To become a version of yourself that you love and is the best person to provide for your family, help your friends, and be a leader in your career.

You know what you should do. Now put the building blocks of success in place. Commit to the outcomes you want. Create an environment that facilitates you achieving your goals.

“On one level, wisdom is nothing more profound than an ability to follow one’s own advice.” – Sam Harris

Will it be easy? Nope. The struggle is guaranteed, but the success is not. But if you are willing to keep showing up. To put in the work. To go through the motions even when you don’t want to. Then you might not even recognize the person you become by the end of this extraordinary year.

“Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.” – J. J. Watt

If you have questions about how to begin a life changing routine then we want to know. Our team is here to help and answer the questions you have about fitness, nutrition, and what steps to take to become strong and healthy.

3 Nutrition Tips When You’re Stuck at Home

Under a Stay at Home order, a lot changes in your normal everyday activity. You aren’t doing your two-a-day workouts, maybe your parks are closed so you’re not running around enjoying the weather, or maybe your pick-up basketball games have come to a halt. The point is that we’ve all become a little less active than we’d like if we’re forced to forgo all of our normal activities. 

 

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself..”
-Leo Tolstoy

If your activity has gone way down in the past few months, you may be experiencing unwanted body composition changes. So let’s tackle the best things you can do if you’ve adopted a mostly sedentary lifestyle with a little too much “Netflix and Chill”.

Here are the top 3 nutrition tips when you’re stuck at home:

  1. Replace processed carbs with veggies.
  2. Eat smaller portions.
  3. Keep a food journal.

 

1.Replace Refined or Processed Carbohydrate Sources With Veggies (Preferably Green)

This is an easy one to start doing today. If you normally have cereal for breakfast, think about how you can swap out these refined carbs for a vegetable. Maybe have an egg omelet with spinach instead? Or a smoothie with a scoop of added greens. For Lunch, try replacing the bread of your sandwich with a salad. For Dinner, maybe some steamed veggies with some protein and healthy fats? The point of this is to replace your normal carb sources with vegetable sources because when you’re sedentary more often, you need to keep your fiber and nutrient content of your diet high. 

You are also burning much less energy, and high energy carbohydrates like rice, bread, and cereal will most likely get stored rather than used during this time. Many folks out there count macros, but understand that different sources of carbohydrates do get stored differently in the body. If you’re counting macros, be especially aware of where you’re getting your carbohydrates from when your activity level decreases.

2. Smaller Portions

If you’re eating the exact same portions you were eating before getting quarantined, chances are you’re consuming a bit too much for your energy needs. In addition to switching out your carbohydrate sources for nutrient dense veggies (that will up your immune system by the way) you’ll most likely need to eat a little less per meal. Here’s what your new quarantine plate should look like on a normal dinner plate: Fill your plate with about 70% veggies, 20% protein, and 10% fat. 

3. Keep A Food Journal

Sometimes when we’re home, we tend to snack unnecessarily. By keeping a food journal of everything you eat, you’ll be way more aware of any extra calories you are consuming throughout the day. One of the biggest benefits of keeping a food journal is that it makes you more mindful and in touch with your hunger cues so you don’t eat based on boredom. Getting in touch with the feelings you have when you are eating is a great way to raise awareness and help you improve decision making.

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
-Abraham Maslow

Having trouble keeping your nutrition on track right now? We want to talk to you and help you get a plan in place to feel on track and in control!

5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything

No doubt that in the past few months your workout routine has changed. Depending on the space available in your home and what equipment you have access to that change may have been drastic. If you really enjoy lifting heavy and make that the focus of your training then you may be getting frustrated. 

“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”
-Teddy Roosevelt

 

Right now you have an awesome opportunity to deload your body, rehab nagging injuries, and bulletproof your body to come back to training ready to rock. There is a lot you can do at home right now that will strengthen your joints, build up core strength, and address imbalances and weaknesses that may have been holding you back.

So check out the top 5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything and show up to the gym ready to crush it!

  • Candlestick
  • Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups
  • Pullups
  • Pistol Squats
  • Glute Bridges

1.Candlestick

Roll out the yoga mat or head out into the backyard. The candlestick is a fun exercise that has tremendous benefits. If you are about functional training this is perhaps the best demonstration of real world functional movement. In fact, the ability to move one’s own body from the ground to standing is a great indicator of fitness (burpees anyone?!). You will also learn coordination, balance, and build your core strength as you strive to maintain a hollow body position. Try filming yourself as you do these to refine your positions and maintain a global shape from head to toe.

Check out a great video on the candlestick here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXoNNx-uOtU

2. Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups

Walk walks for short. Think of these as planks taken to a whole new level. The key here is to maintain your position and not let your low back arch. If you are nervous to go all the way upside down or have trouble getting your nose all the way to the wall don’t worry. Just go as far as you safely and comfortably can – there are still so many benefits to doing this exercise!

Focus on moving slowly as you work on these and challenge yourself to spend more time under tension rather than completing the wall walk up as quickly as possible. Play around with different variations and mix in elements like shifting your weight from one hand to the other – this will have tremendous carryover to skills like handstand walking!

Pro Tip* Do not perform these on the bathroom door while someone else is in there! 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmbZyKmJwbo

3. Pull Ups

Pull Ups can’t be beat when it comes to upper body strength training. Build up your lat’s, arms, and core strength by adding these in daily. Pull Ups respond well to training frequency so try to do more small sets throughout the day to build up your neuromuscular efficiency. Try doing sets that are 50% of your max number of pullups to ensure you are always able to rep them out (if 8 pullups is your max always do sets of 4 with plenty of rest in between). If doing your first pullup is the goal then focus on doing just the lowering phase of the movement. Step up so your chin starts over the bar and control your lowering at a steady rate of speed so that it takes at 4-5 seconds to get your arms fully extended at the bottom of the movement.

Most of us have picked up a basic pullup bar that can hang from a door frame but even if you missed the boat or don’t have the space we have you covered. Check out this video for pullup variations that don’t require a bar! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=299&v=vGAK2-_kn1U&feature=emb_logo

4. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are a great way to maintain leg strength without any external load. They also improve your squat mechanics and mobility if you are disciplined with your form and really focus on movement quality. Make sure you are mobilizing your ankles and properly warming up before diving into pistol squats. 

Below is a great progression you can use to warm up and train this beneficial movement!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WFpjKRP_HI

5. Glute Bridge

The movement we all know and love and probably don’t do often enough. If you are working from home right now (or spending more time on the couch than usual) then set an alarm on your phone to drop and perform some glute bridges every hour. Your low back will thank you and so will your Levi’s!

There are a ton of variations of the glute bridge that you can train. Performing these as often as possible with your bodyweight will pay huge dividends. It can help alleviate back and sciatic pain and will also improve your squat and deadlift. Checking out this video is a great place to start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6xvm4-Qk0

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
-Vince Lombardi

Fitness is a mindset. Not an activity that you go to the gym to perform for an hour 4-5 times a week. Our gym and community is here to facilitate your fitness journey. Let us know if you need guidance, motivation, or just someone to sweat with (virtually of course)!

Becoming Better, In Quarantine and In Life

So you may be working from home in your pajamas, or maybe your job has even been affected by the global pandemic (and you’re still in your pajamas) everyday. Let’s talk about why you need to set some standards for you and your household if you want to come out of this pandemic better than ever. 

 

“The challenge is to always improve, to always get better, even when you are the best. Especially when you are the best.”

James Kerr

Behind closed doors many of us let it all hang out. Stains on our clothes, unbuttoned pants, and messy hair. We say this is our “home” time and we deserve some relaxation. What if I told you this is lowering your standards in other areas of your life? What you do when no one is watching is what shows up in public. 

The New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, takes this message very seriously. They know that they are only as good on the field as the way they operate off the field. So how does this apply to you? 

When you’re at home, keep your standards high. Especially when you’re under a Stay at Home order from the government. This isn’t happening to you. It’s happening for you, so take advantage of it. Get dressed for work in the morning and notice how much better you feel. This will impact your decisions all day long.

Leaving clothes lying around? Not combing your hair? Do the little things to make yourself just 1% better in everything you do. If cleanliness is important to you, make sure you’re taking care of your home and yourself as you go about your day. I recommend picking even just one thing a day that you focus on. If you wouldn’t do it in public, don’t do it at home is a good philosophy to inhabit.

“The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under those lights.”

-Muhammad Ali

This can be hard when we’re locked in our homes in a national quarantine, but it will be worth it in the end. You will be better for it. Make yourself better when no one is looking. This is the champion’s mindset: Going the extra mile. 

What are you going to do today to make yourself 1% better? To show up a bit more in your life today. For you, for your family, for your world?

Today, choose to get better.

The Top 5 Functional Foods

If you’re more couch potato than health nut you want to take advantage of all the tips and tricks that you can. If you forget to take your vitamins or would rather skip the extra burpees then there is a great way to improve your health with 0 extra effort!

Functional foods are foods that have a health benefit beyond just their basic macronutrient content. Since eating is something you have to do, it makes sense to eat foods that give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are the five most important functional foods you can start adding to your diet today:

1. Green Tea
2. Sauerkraut
3. Blueberries
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Turmeric

 

1.Green Tea

Rather than reaching for that second coffee try having a cup of green tea instead! Green tea contains many polyphenols like EGCG, a catechin containing antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits. Green tea can give you a mental with the potent combination of theanine and a low amount of caffeine. This helps you stay alert and focused without getting the jitters and an eventual crash. Try brewing a cup of green tea when you need a pick-me-up.

 

 

2. Sauerkraut

This sour fermented cabbage dish ranks high on the list of functional foods. High in vitamins A, C, K, and folate, sauerkraut can boost your immune system and support brain health. It’s also high in fiber which can help support your gut bacteria and improve digestive health. Sauerkraut also contains glucosinolates and ascorbigen, compounds that are known for their anti-carcinogenic properties. Add sauerkraut to sandwiches, salads, or have it on it’s own!

 

 

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are a powerhouse fruit that make for a great snack at any time. They are low glycemic so they won’t have a big impact on blood sugar and have numerous health benefits as well. Blueberries get their rich dark blue color from their abundance of anthocyanin which explains their high antioxidant content. Anthocyanins reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and cancer. Add frozen blueberries to your favorite smoothie and keep fresh blueberries around for snacking.

 

 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is often considered to be an old wives tale, a home grown remedy that will fix any ailment. It may not be a cure-all but Apple cider vinegar is certainly a functional food you can benefit from. Produced through fermentation a combination of yeast and beneficial bacteria called the “mother” float in the beverage containing B-vitamins, probiotics, and polyphenols. Research has also found that taking 20 grams of apple cider vinegar significantly lowered post meal blood glucose levels. If you need a little help with digestion try adding some apple cider vinegar to a glass or water or mix it with olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.

 

 

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has been a staple in Indian cooking for thousands of years. It contains a compound called curcumin which has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Curcumin is a potent anti-Inflammatory, that may also help with chronic disease, depression, and possesses anti-carcinogenic properties. It has also been shown to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Don’t be afraid to get your curry on!

There you have it, the top 5 functional foods you should add to your diet today!