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Traveling? Don’t Stop Training!

If you will be traveling the month of August, don’t let that derail you from continuing to work on your fitness goals. You can still eat healthy and get a good workout in when on vacation.

Whenever we plan a trip, we always plan ahead to make sure we can get in our training while we are away. If you do CrossFit, find out where the nearest box is to where you are staying. Check what their policy is for new members who are visiting. Ask about their classes and open box hours. Do you want to join their class or do a walk-in and follow your own training program? We make sure we have the answers to all of these questions so that we don’t have to worry. If you can’t make it to a CrossFit box, then you can still get in a good workout in your hotel gym. There are countless resources online of hotel workouts. Don’t get stuck using the treadmill or elliptical machine only!

If you only have access to equipment from a hotel gym, I’m sure they will have dumbbells available. Did you know that you could basically do almost every barbell movement in CrossFit with a dumbbell? You can do dumbbell squats, lunges, thrusters, press, push jerk, swings, overhead squats, dumbbell cleans and snatches.

There is no excuse to why you can’t continue your workouts. If you’re traveling with family and they have everyday planned out, then wake up a little early and get your workout in before you start your day! Or if you’re out and have one hour to spare, join a class in the nearest box! It’s important to keep your routine of working out as often as you can even while traveling.

Here is a list of some resources that include workouts:

The Traveling WODs

CrossFit Travel WODs

50 Bodyweight Exercises

CrossFit mainsite WODs: www.crossfit.com

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Evaluating How You Move

Is it difficult for you to extend your arms overhead? Do you struggle to squat deep without bringing your chest down and leaning forward? Do you hate front squats and cleans because you can't bring your elbows up to hold the bar? You might be having mobility issues.

I discussed what mobility is and its importance in helping to correct an athletes movement in a previous post. If you're subscribed to the newsletter, you also received links to videos showing several different ways of mobilizing that you can try out yourself.

In this post, I'll provide some basic points that will help you figure out if you need to and where to mobilize to move better. By assessing our movement through a couple of tests, we can determine where the trouble spots are and which part of our body needs extra mobilization in order to improve that movement and prevent pain.

Below is a list of questions that you should ask yourself or have your coach assess you. This is a very basic and simple assessment. There are much more detailed assessments that can be found online. A great resource is MobilityWOD

1. Posture: check the way you stand. Are you standing straight?

2. Squat: are you able to squat full depth as in hip crease below the knee? Are there any faults when squatting with the feet? Ankles? Knees? Curving back?

3. Hips and Posterior Chain (back): is there a neutral spine maintained when bending forward? Meaning is your back straight or do you have to curve it to be able to bend farther?

4. Front rack position (front squat/clean): elbow position, shoulders, rib cage position?

5. Overhead position: straight bar path? Arms locked out? Head position? Shoulder position?

Make sure you move through each position and check your movement pattern from head to toe, as well as any part that causes pain or discomfort. By doing so, you can determine if your shoulders need mobility because you can't get into a good overhead position, or if your ankles need mobility because of faults in your squat.

Do the assessment test and look up some mobility exercises that you can do. Pick your favorites and do them as often as you can! Kelly Starrett's YouTube page is a great place to start. 

Mobilizing with a ball, foam roller, or resistance bands can be done before and after a workout. It is preferable if you use the time before a workout to focus on difficult spots, then after, you can do more general mobilizing if needed (such as stretching). 

If you have an issue, CORRECT IT. Come in ten minutes early to do extra work before starting your workout. Don't just do it once a week. Just like most things, consistent and focused work will show huge improvement with time. Avoid pain and move better.

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Feed Your Body Right

Did you know that eating healthy foods such as fruits could make you happier? It’s true, there’s scientific research that backs it up. It’s not just because you are happy about yourself for sticking to your diet. There are chemical reactions happening in your body when you ingest the right foods, which are providing you with that happy feeling.

Did you know that if you ate a healthy and varied diet that you probably don’t need to be swallowing pills such as a multivitamin, vitamin D, or an omega supplement. We all know the importance of delivering the right vitamins to our body.

Lets look at a few of the different ways food can benefit us:

Eating a diet with food that provides your bones with the nutrients they need such as calcium and vitamin D, can prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can keep your immune system strong and prevent too many sick days.

Good nutrition can help you sleep better.

By eating a nutritious diet you can help prevent memory loss later in life.

Healthy food can help you have clearer skin because unhealthy food can cause acne.

In terms of performance and exercise, the right food can help your muscles get stronger and help your body recover from your workouts. (Nutrition and exercise performance will be the next nutrition blog post!)

Some specific foods can help you feel less sore after exercise and can help you recover much faster.

A sugary snack might give you instant energy but its temporary effect will wear off and leave you feeling worse than before. But good food will give you sustained energy to help you get through a long workout.

It might be hard to introduce some new healthy food to your diet and it will be especially hard to break the habit of eating unhealthy food. But know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Once you make eating healthy a habit, you will greatly reduce your cravings for unhealthy food!

It seems people are only interested in how their body looks when they start a diet and don’t understand or acknowledge the effects different kinds of food have on their body. A healthy diet will give you more energy, improve your mood, reduce stress, help your body function properly and aid in transforming your body composition.

Wouldn’t you want to have a goal of providing your body with the right foods so that you look good AND feel good? What’s the point of eating for a specific body image that you want, but feeling miserable, low energy, no focus, and not feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally?

I say let’s forget the body image you are so desperate to achieve and instead focus on how each different food we put in our body effects us. Let’s learn what vitamins they provide our body so that it functions properly, what diseases they help prevent, or how specific foods can help our skin become clearer, our hair healthier, our vision stronger. Doesn’t that make you more motivated to make the right choice when deciding weather to eat an apple with endless nutritional benefits or a bag of potato chips?

Once you understand why you should be eating the right food and how many benefits they provide, I’m sure you will be more encouraged to start making healthy choices. And then sooner than later, you will find yourself looking in the mirror staring at the body image you’ve always wanted AND feeling great on the inside.

Check out this amazing website that lists probably every type of food you can think of and explains the benefits of each one: http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/

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Goal Setting: Focus

We have discussed in previous posts the difference between outcome goals and action goals and also how to set realistic goals. There are many important points to goal setting, but one significant thing that can be the deciding factor if you would ever reach one of your goals or not is: focus.

To be committed to achieving a goal in fitness or any other part of your life, you have to be focused. In reality, there are many people that will never reach goals that they have set for themselves. Most of the time what stops them isn’t lack of knowledge or skills, it’s the struggle to stay focused.

So how do you stay focused? There are several considerations to keep in mind to help you in achieving that:

1. Focus on one goal at a time:
In CrossFit, there are so many movements and aspects of fitness that you need to learn, practice, strengthen, improve on, and train consistently. But in order to do that, you have to work on one thing (or a few) at a time. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you have a goal for yourself is keep jumping from one goal to another without focusing on one until you achieve it. For example, you have two athletes that have set goals for themselves. They are: double-unders and get a strict pull-up. These two athletes don’t have a deadline for their goals but each will try to work towards them differently. Athlete 1 decides to focus on double-unders for 3 weeks as part of her warm-up and extra work after class. Athlete 2 decides to practice a little bit of double-unders for one week before losing interest, in addition, decides to skip strength progressions and just do banded pull-ups whenever they’re programmed in the class. Guess who’s going to start reaching their goals first? After daily practice, Athlete 1 gets her double-unders in under 3 weeks. Athlete 1 now decides to follow some strength work and progressions to get her first strict pull-up in the next few weeks. All while Athlete 2 is still stuck playing around with the jump rope and not seeing any progress in her pull-ups. What was the difference between the two? One of them was committed and focused to putting in the work to reach an end result. When you make a commitment to a specific goal, you are able to invest all your energy and focus to that one area.

2. Focus on the steps to reach that goal:
Say you’re goal is so big just the thought of it is overwhelming. Going back to Athlete 1, their big goal is to compete in an Rx division in a competition. How long will it take to achieve it? How much work needs to be done to achieve it? Will that goal ever be accomplished? All these questions and worries will make it hard to focus and most probably paralyze you from ever getting into action. Keep your goal in the back of your head but instead focus on smaller goals that will help you reach that big goal. For example, Athlete 1 has the first goal of achieving double-unders. The second goal will be pull-ups. These are all requirements to be able to compete in an Rx division. By breaking down the steps that need to be taken, every time you climb over one step you just succeeded in reaching one of your small goals. Your journey will be much more rewarding and this will help you stay motivated to keep working. Pay attention to the small achievements and that will allow you to have long-term focus to reach your big goal.

3. Focus on what you can control:
When working towards a goal, sometimes life will get in the way. You will face obstacles, failure, hardships, and struggles on your path to reaching a goal. You will lose motivation and your commitment will start to weaken. You might lose interest and move onto something else, or you just give up. It’s important to learn to commit and stay on the course towards achieving what you want no matter what obstacles arise and whatever sacrifices you have to make. When some of those obstacles and hardships are out of your control then try to focus on the things you can control such as the training you need to do, or re-prioritizing some things to make time to work on your goal. Life isn’t perfect and the path to success is not a straight line. It’s important to stay focused.

Most worthwhile goals take time to achieve. So make sure you are prepared to learn to focus.

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