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Positive Thoughts

Whether you believe in the power of your mind or not, I’m here to tell you that mindset is everything. When it comes to reaching a goal you have set for yourself, the way you approach it mentally is extremely important and plays a big role in determining your success. Hard work will always be the main aspect in your journey, but how you think and feel during that period is even more significant.

The power of your mind is a huge topic that I can’t wait to dive in and discuss with you, but for now, I’m here to remind you the importance of positive thoughts! Starting your fitness journey with a positive mindset will make it that much more fun, enjoyable, and rewarding. Doesn’t matter what your goal is: improving performance, losing or gaining weight, or joining a competition, keeping a positive mind will help you reach that goal sooner.

Here is a fun infographic that will guide you on how to switch your thinking from negative to positive:

 

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Strength Training: More Than Just Building Muscle

Strength training helps you build muscle mass (no that does not mean “bulky”). Gaining muscle mass provides many benefits to your body. To list a few:

-More bone density (protects you from injuries as you age)

-Less overall pain (stronger body, move correctly, less injuries)

-Better quality of life (more strength to play with kids, enjoy life)

-Improved posture (stronger muscles, more balance)

-Reduction in symptoms of some illnesses (reduce heart disease and type II diabetes)

-Better performance (even helps endurance athletes avoid chronic pain and joint pain)

But did you know that strength training provides so much more benefits than just physiological? It teaches you things you might not be able to experience elsewhere. Keep reading to discover things that you didn’t know about or maybe you have already noticed some of these lessons after starting to train with weights…

1. Strength training keeps your ego in check. Some people will try to do too much too quickly, and the barbell will humble you. Put on more weight than you can handle, it will remind you that you can’t just skip the process. Sometimes it’s good to have a reality check, and in this case, you are getting it from the bar.

2. Strength training will teach you to be patient. Like the previous point, you can’t skip all the hard work and assume you’ll do as you wish. The bar will force you to practice patience. You will start to understand this and celebrate your small achievements and PR’s and that extra rep in a workout.

3. Strength training teaches you the importance of consistency. You can’t train for a month then skip another month and come back assuming you will be able to perform just as good as before. Same as you can’t do one good workout and think you’re suddenly stronger. It’s putting in work day by day, week by week, month by month and that consistency will show you the results you want.

4. Strength training doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from, how much you weigh, what shape your body is, what limitations you have. Anyone can lift, one way or another. Strength training is for everyone.

5. Strength training allows you to discover the amazing things your body can do. Things you never imagined you would be doing or even be able to do ever. “I can’t do a pull-up” or “I can’t deadlift twice my bodyweight.” You soon learn that those things are achievable with time and hard work. You will view yourself in a wonderfully empowering new way. It’s not about how your body looks all the time; it’s about what your body can do.

6. Strength training doesn’t only build your body, but also your mind. There aren’t many experiences that can increase your mental toughness as much as a challenging workout that has you screaming on the inside wanting to stop. But you learn that your body and mind can handle much more than you think. By pushing through those mental barriers of wanting to stop you are building your mental toughness.

All these lessons can be applied in other areas of your life. For me personally, the amount of ways strength training has helped me become a better me are too numerous to list.

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Do You Mobilize?

I’m sure if you attend CrossFit and are familiar with CrossFit lingo you have heard of the word ‘mobility.’ If you haven’t heard that word before, Kelly Starrett, a very well known coach in the CrossFit community who created the www.MobilityWOD.com and author of Supple Leopard, defined mobilization as “a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance […].” Basically what that means is mobility exercises can help improve your movement and performance by fixing any problems you have with tight muscles and joint issues.

Mobility or mobilizing your body is more than just flexibility and stretching your muscles. If you can’t do specific movements especially a simple air squat, you probably have some mobility issues that need to be fixed. For example you can have a strong athlete that can’t do a movement correctly not because she can’t lift the weight but because she struggles to get into full range of motion. If we take a look at the thruster movement which involves a squat that transfers directly into pressing the bar overhead. If this athlete can’t squat properly, she isn’t doing a thruster correctly. One reason she might not be able to squat is having tight hips that need to be mobilized and stretched. Or she might be having problems holding the bar in the front rack position (not able to keep the weight on the shoulders instead of arms), which makes it harder as the weight falls forward. If her shoulders are tight or she doesn’t have the flexibility to lift her elbows higher this could be a reason for that. Another problem with tight shoulders is she could be struggling to lift the weight over her head properly, which could lead to injury.

These problems listed above can prevent this athlete from moving properly. She could get away with it in the beginning but once she keeps getting stronger and the weights get heavier she might not be able to do the movement anymore or even worse injure herself.

So how do you mobilize? A foam roller and a small tennis ball can help put pressure on specific muscles that need to be “opened” or mobilized. Some exercises can be done with bands to help stretch joints. If the athlete needs even more intense mobilization, it is best to visit a physical therapist, or a massage therapist, or a chiropractor. I will provide links below with videos showing some mobility exercises.

The warm-up we have in our classes at CrossFit Q8; which includes getting the heart rate up and some dynamic movements, prepares your body for general movement. But some athletes will benefit greatly by adding some mobility exercises to their warm-up before starting their training session. I have provided a few members with additional work to do on their own, but ask your coach (or email me!) if you are interested in looking into this further.

By taking care of mobility you can help prevent injury, speed up recovery between workouts, and improve performance.

Video: Mobility for Shoulder with a band
Video: Mobility for back with a lacrosse ball 
Video: Basic Foam Rolling
Check this out: RomWOD 

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The Easiest Meal Plan Guide

Starting your journey to becoming healthier and fitter can be a little bit scary. Especially when it comes to nutrition. There is so much information out there its hard to know where to start. You’ve got the Atkins diet, Paleo, Ketogenic diet, Low Carb diet, The Zone diet, High Protein diet, If It Fits Your Macros or Flexible Dieting, and so many more. To be honest with you, they all work! (…to some extent). It’s just deciding which diet plan to pick that best suits your lifestyle. You can try them all and see what works for you, but here’s the thing, why over complicate life? Who wants to eat a certain way with so many restrictions for the rest of their life? Some people can but most can’t.

So now what? Lets keep this simple and I’ll share with you the most straightforward guide that you can use to create a plan for yourself. No counting calories or measuring food required. Below you’ll see an infographic that takes an approach you might not be used to. They suggest using your hand as a measuring tool! Then it goes on to suggest portion sizes for both males and females. In the end it explains that portion sizes will have to be adjusted depending on your body type, goals, how much you train, and so on. Check it out:

It’s so straightforward and so simple! Try it out for yourself and see how you feel after a few weeks. If you have any questions or need more explanation don’t hesitate to reply to this email!

Results won’t come over night and especially when changing the way you eat. It takes time for the body to adjust and finally give you the results you’ve been working hard for. Just remember that the key to seeing results is long-term consistency! That means sticking to it even if you get off track, you get right back on it!

This is a template I use to organize my own diet. I know what type of food I should have for every meal and how much I should be putting on my plate by using my hand as a measuring tool. The only time I’ll start counting calories or measuring my food with a food scale is when I need to get strict about my diet to reach a certain weight for a specific goal whether it be gaining weight or losing.

P.S. if you’re vegetarian or vegan you can still use this same template, just make sure you get vegan-proteins in such as beans, legumes, tofu, etc.

I hope this fun guide helps you start improving your eating habits for now. 

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Goal Setting: Outcome Goals vs. Action Goals

“Anyone can set a goal, but not everyone can accomplish a goal.”

When you are first starting your fitness journey or have already started and looking to progress even further, it’s important to understand how to set goals. Goal setting is a way to enhance your present reality on your way to reaching your final outcome.

Most people will have an idea of what their goals are such as: lifting a specific weight, winning a competition, getting a muscle-up, losing or gaining a specific number of kilos, etc. It’s good to know what you want but these are all called OUTCOME goals. Outcome goals are things you want to happen or be able to do. But people don’t realize they are missing the most important step…and that is ACTION goals. It’s not just about setting goals; you need to identify how you will reach these goals. Action goals are setting smaller goals that will help you reach your outcome goal. For example, if you want to lose weight you can set action goals such as: eliminating junk food or drinking more water. Or if your outcome goal is to get a muscle-up, your action goals should be something like training pull-ups and ring dips 3 times a week. Another example of an outcome goal can be doing more mobility. Your action goal can be spending 10 to 15 minutes daily doing foam rolling/mobility/or yoga.

ACTION goals help you focus on what needs to be done, the work you need to actually do in order to reach your OUTCOME goal. As the quote goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”.

When we revisit the topic of goal setting, we will go further into how to set realistic goals vs. unrealistic goals.

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