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Diet: Fix The Basics First

There is too much information out there about when to eat, what to eat, should you count your macros, should you eat no carb, how much to eat, should you take supplements, and endless other questions…

Before you dive into any of these in detail, here are some basic points that should be addressed. If you are not taking care of one of the following, then reassess your diet before stressing yourself out over the perfect timing of your meals or what supplement to take.

1. Make sure you don’t have any nutrient deficiencies. What are nutrient deficiencies? Having low calcium, vitamin D, omega 3, or protein. There are many other vitamins and nutrients that should be accounted for but I will focus on a couple only. You can get yourself assessed by a dietitian or get a test in a clinic to figure out what your body is deficient in. Most of the time, you can be doing everything right and eating healthy but you still don’t feel good or are seeing results. It could be a deficiency somewhere that isn’t allowing your body to function the way it should. Most important and common deficiencies are the need to increase protein intake in your food and to take a fish oil supplement. Water is included in this list! Don’t let your body get dehydrated.

2. Control how much food you are eating without stressing over counting calories. Don’t jump into the stress of weighing and measuring all your food if you don’t even try to just control your portions. I posted a few weeks ago HERE about portion control and how you can use your hand to determine how much food to eat.

3. Understand your body type and what works best for you. We are all built differently. Some people have lean and muscular bodies without even trying that hard in their diet and exercise. Others might have a body that is long and thin and struggles to gain weight. And some people just have a slow metabolism where their bodies don’t tolerate carbohydrates very well. Depending on how your body responds to different food, you need to learn and listen to your body. Find an eating plan that works best for you and your activity level. There is no one size fits all. Here’s a great article explaining this topic in further detail: Body Type Eating.

4. Record and track your progress to see any changes and adjust if needed.

You need to follow all these point for a long time and be consistent before deciding something isn’t working. Then you can start to consider details such as the timing of your meals, what to eat post workout or taking any extra supplements.

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When you set a goal for yourself; whether it is winning a CrossFit competition, losing weight, getting your first pull-up, or running a faster 5k, it isn’t about how badly you want it. When you want to reach a goal, it is about how much work you are willing to do and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to reach it.

Most life transforming goals and things you dream of achieving require you to embrace the hard journey to reach it. There is no easy way. Of course you don’t have to sacrifice everything, I’m talking about sacrificing things that stand in the way of reaching your goal. Activities or habits that can be set aside as you work towards achieving what you truly desire.

What are you willing to sacrifice to reach your fitness goals?

Time spent with family – ordering dessert – social gatherings – putting extra time in the gym – giving up the daily Starbucks Frappuccino – using your money to buy healthy food and gym memberships instead of material things – doing the boring work in training like cardio or accessory lifts – sleeping early to help your body recover instead of staying up all night watching reruns of your favorite show…

It’s about how much you are willing to do and sacrifice in order to reach your goal. If your goal isn’t that important to you then you don’t have to give up anything, just leave that goal a distant dream and continue to live in your comfortable routine. In the end the choice is yours.

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Self-Talk During a WOD

What goes through your mind during a workout? Is your mind blank or are there a million thoughts going through your head? Are they positive or negative? Are your thoughts helping you or hindering your performance?

It’s safe to say that most people know that the mind plays a huge factor in performance in sports. I truly believe in the importance of being aware of your thoughts during a workout. I read somewhere that your mental state and your physical performance are inseparable.

During a workout, I suggest to focus your mind on two different thought processes: positive encouragement and efficiency in movement.

Positive Encouragement:
When you are in the middle of an especially hard workout what are you telling yourself? Are you your worst enemy or your biggest cheerleader?

If you are repeating to yourself negative thoughts such as:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m weak.”
“I’m slow.”
“I can’t believe I have to do 50 burpees.”

I can guarantee you won’t be doing your best during the workout and you won’t be feeling so good about yourself either. You might even decide to quit in the middle of training.

But imagine if you were telling yourself thoughts like:
“I will do the best I can.”
“I love to challenge myself and see what I can do.”
“This is fun and I’m lucky to be here.”
“It’s only 5 sets of 10 burpees.”

Its during tough workouts that you have to try extra hard to not use negative words so that you can perform as best as you can. If you are faced with a movement you don’t like or a workout that scares you, accept it and tell yourself “this will make me better.” If you visualize yourself failing and are overanalyzing yourself negatively, you will probably not do as good in the workout as someone who visualizes success, lets go of negative thoughts and stays positive to keep moving.

Efficiency in Movement: 
Staying positive during a workout and cheering yourself to keep going is a great tool to use to help your performance. Another form of self-talk that is just as important as positive encouragement is being aware of your movement and doing the exercises correctly and efficiently.

During a workout, you should be using words such as:
“Chest up”
“Dip fast”
“Keep breathing”
“Up up up!”
“Knees out”

Be aware of what you are doing and use these words to help you keep moving but also to move better. If you notice yourself getting tired and not doing a movement correctly, break it down in your mind and give yourself some cues.

So if you put those two thought processes together, you would be using the power of your thoughts in a more beneficial way and in turn that will help you become a better athlete…
“Pull the bar faster, I am strong enough.”
“Catch your breath and keep going, I have done harder work before.”
“One more rep, I can do it.”

Here's a great quote to think about before your next workout: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t…you’re right.” Henry Ford

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