RX is what YOU do!

Here’s a little something that has been on my mind for a while. I hear the talk as our people come into the box and look at the whiteboard. I see the faces change from smiling to scared, to oh my, I can’t possibly compete with so-and-so today. I want to take a minute to discuss your RX!
Jason and I started LoudHouse CrossFit with the desire to help our community discover their mental and physical strength. We truly believe that CrossFit is a great way to better your life from the inside out.
I want you all to take a step back for a moment, and remember why you initially stepped foot into the box in the first place. For some of you it was because you wanted a heavier back squat, for others it was to get that banging bikini body, still others to get over the hurdle of losing that last 10lbs, or to battle depression, or to escape the stress of a job, and for some it may be to be able to tie your shoe without pain, or getting on and off the floor to play with your kids or grandkids. I can go on. There are countless reasons you initially walked into the Box, and once you get into the routine of CrossFit and you get comfortable in a class, then you start to see the “expected competition”. Yes, competition is expected in CrossFit however with healthy competition comes the dreaded “unhealthy competition”.
Unhealthy competition begins when you start dismissing your personal successes because you start focusing on what you think you should be able to do, or what others are able to do. Which brings me back to why YOU started Crossfit. If the competition among your peers is not allowing you to see your success or is taking the fun out of your fitness you are missing the mark.
Our desire is for you to compete with yourself, to push yourself, to meet and exceed YOUR goals. It is not our desire to see you beat yourself up because someone RX’d the “recommended” weight on the board and you had to scale it. I challenge each of you to find YOUR RX! Remember why you started CrossFit! Enjoy YOUR journey!! RX is what YOU do

THAT DIRTY FOUR LETTER WORD… REST!

Rest, that dirty four letter word that all of us hate to hear. I know for me, as a CrossFit athlete and coach that absolutely loves smashing himself in a WOD, it is one of the most dreaded days of my week. However, as I’ve gotten older, and suffered multiple injuries, I’ve come to realize, perhaps the hard way, just how important rest truly is.

About two weeks ago I suffered a partial tear in the distal bicep tendon in my right arm. I was flipping a tire, a tire that I have flipped hundreds of times in the past without incident. Looking back at my schedule over the past couple months, and being truly honest with myself, I haven’t rested enough. As a result; four weeks minimum rest from using my right arm! Let me just tell you how much that sucks. (Try a one arm burpee if you don’t believe me)

So needless to say, one of the most obvious manifestations of lack of rest is injury. However, there is more to it. Recent studies on US Navy Seals have shown that lack of rest is directly effecting their hormone levels, in particular testosterone. I find that pretty important being a 41 year old guy. Also, I recently read about one study in particular, I believe they tested MMA fighters, showed that depriving them of just one hour of sleep for a night dropped their testosterone levels by as much as 30%! How do you think that effected their performance? I think it’s obvious it would be detrimental. While these studies are actually based on sleep deprivation vs. just taking a day off from the gym, it is all relevant and interconnected.

Some symptoms of not getting enough rest:

1. Persistent muscle soreness
2. Persistent fatigue
3. Elevated resting heart rate
4. Increased susceptibility to infections
5. Increased incidence of injuries
6. Irritability
7. Depression
8. Trouble sleeping

Our approach to fitness has to be like our approach to nutrition. It is a lifelong pursuit. If you can’t stand to miss a day at the box then just come hang out, or perhaps work on some of that mobility stuff that the coach is always telling you that you need more of. Or just come cheer on the other folks, perhaps you can even convince them to take a rest day.

Eat well. Sleep well. Rest well. Be awesome for a lifetime!

Diet Cults

I just finished listening to Sean Croxton’s podcast with Matt Fitzgerald discussing his new book, Diet Cults. (http://undergroundwellness.com/radio/) I feel I should preface this by saying that I have not read the book. However, I have read Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight and really enjoyed it; I think he is a great writer. The discussion really made me think about all the misconceptions out there about diets, specifically the paleo diet. While I agree there are diet cults, heck, I have been guilty in the past of being in a diet cult and being very dogmatic about “my way is the only way to be healthy”, I think there are lot of folks out there that have figured out, not only that you have to find what works for you and your wellness goals but there are also some universal truths in diet and wellness that should not be arguable.

The paleo diet always comes under fire for being terribly restrictive and not easy to follow. Or people believe, in error, like Matt does that it is all about eating meat, meat, meat. When in reality, someone like me for instance, probably eats more veggies than most vegetarians that I know.

I think part of the problem is that people are searching for a “diet”. That magic bullet that is going to, once and for all, help them lose the weight that they have been trying to lose for years. Most folks approach dieting as a short term solution. “Hey, I’m going to go vegetarian for a while to lose some weight” or “Hey, I’m going to go paleo for a while to lean out.” What I have observed through years of suffering with obesity is that the people who are successful in being lean and healthy all have a few things in common.

One, they don’t stress about what they are eating. If they want to treat themselves with a glass of wine and chocolate, they just do it. They don’t worry or feel guilty about it.

Two, they know what a treat is. It is a treat. If you eat a donut and frapamochachino for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and pizza for dinner, those are no longer treats. They are your diet.

Three, they make healthy choices WAY more than non-healthy choices.

Four, they choose mostly real food. Not processed junk, but real food. Quality, nutrient dense foods. You know… vegetables, fruits, healthy oils, and quality meats.

Five, they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. I have struggled with this one for years and I think part of my problem is for years I followed a schedule for eating. I ate 3 meals per day at a certain time and 2 snacks. My body got so used to eating that way, that I had no idea when I was really hungry, I just knew that it was 10 o’clock and it was time for my snack.

If you guys know me at all, you know that my family and I eat a paleo style diet. I know with 100% certainty that certain foods, and drinks for that matter, that I consume have a negative effect on my body composition and performance. And, I if you come to me seeking nutrition advice, I will recommend a paleo style diet to you. What you will not hear me say is, as long as that it fits into the paleo rules it is ok to eat. I will always recommend, real food, nutrient dense, best quality that you can afford food. If you can afford all organic, grass fed, local, etc… then that is how you should eat. If you can’t, then I will recommend the exact same foods but, there conventional counterparts. One thing for sure, stop dieting. Eat real food. Stop stressing.

Surround Yourself with Awesome

It has been said that you are the sum total of the five people that you hang around the most. I firmly believe this to be true. If you hang around people that are always smiling, laughing, and are happy you will be happier. If you hang around a bunch of “Debbie downers” you will tend to be more negative. Same goes for your eating habits, work out habits, etc…. Your “core” group determines your attitude and can very much effect your overall health and fitness.

So, what is the solution? The way I see it you have a couple options. One, you can kick all of those negative people to the curb and find you a new, more positive, group. Or, second, perhaps you can surround yourself with books, podcast, videos, etc… that align with your goals.

Several months ago I read a book, Today We Are Rich, by Tim Sanders, in which he discusses the power and importance of positive thinking. I would put this book in my top 5 reads of all time. It really changed the way that I think. I have long suffered from fearing the worst, and still struggle with it but, now I try to surround myself with people that lift my spirit and I also try to always think positive, even when I don’t necessarily believe it. It has had a dramatic effect on my life.
“Almost any negative thought pattern can be broken with thoughts of gratitude. When you “think thanks,” you dial into what you have instead of what you lack. The effect is immediate—you feel positive.” ― Tim Sanders

Some things I recommend:

1. Surround yourself with a community of positive thinking people.
2. Always think positive thoughts, even when you may not believe them.
3. Surround yourself with ideas that support your goal. If you want to quit drinking, don’t hang out at the bar. If you want to be fit, try hanging out with people that are fit.
4. Practice gratitude.