Why is this so damn hard!?

Changing our diet and exercise habits are two of the hardest things to do in life. Why? Well, there are many reasons.

It’s easy for me to sit here as a coach and say “you really just need to stop eating so much junk” or “if you would just be more consistent in your eating habits and move your butt more you’d reach your goals,” or “food is fuel, don’t worry how it taste.” However, in reality…. It’s hard as crap to do those things and hard as crap to change our habits and ways of thinking. Fact is, our habits fit very neatly into our current lives and well, nutrition and exercise may throw us out of our comfort zone, or just may not fit in our current lifestyle.

I get it.

Trust me, I really get it.

For my entire life I have battled an addictive personality and numerous addictions. (Alcohol, narcotics, prescription drugs, smoking… you name it I’ve done it, enjoyed it, and tried to be the best at it.)

With that being said, I’ve grown a lot, learned a lot. If you know me, chances are you can’t imagine that I was ever that person. Now my life revolves around health and wellness and helping others. The opposite of all those things that I listed above. So, what happened, what helped me change my habits to healthy ones?

The first thing is I determined my WHY. (NOTE: I didn’t realize this at the time) I truly wanted to change in the past but, honestly, I had no motivation to do so. Like I said, I enjoyed being that person that partied like a rock star, literally. Then, my wife and I got pregnant with our first child and that was my why. Why did I want to change? Because, if I wanted to be around to see my kids grow up, I had to not only quit the drugs and partying, but also I needed to lose about a 130lbs. (Yep, I weighed 325lbs and yes, I am only 5’8”) And I did, and for the most part I have kept it off for almost 17 years now.

The struggle is real!

Thus began the struggle that I STILL face daily. I’ll be real honest here, my self-image is terrible; still to this day! If you guys have ever read my blog post about my social media name, Trainingthefatkid, you know that to this day when I look in the mirror I am still the same person that I have ALWAYS been. The little fat kid that was made fun of most of my life because of my body.

It is HARD to overcome that. In fact, I haven’t entirely.

But, daily I try. Daily I choose to get up and work on me. Now, I’m not saying that I spend all day wallowing in my misery. In fact, it is not like that at all. But, I do struggle and I do think about how I can be better every day.

Let’s stop talking about me…

Change is hard. Very hard. I can throw out things like “you got this” “you can do it” but, maybe you don’t. Maybe you need your why? Or maybe, rather most likely, what you need is baby steps.

If you are going to attempt to quit smoking, give up soda, eat more protein and veggies, cut calories, exercise more, and call you mom daily, chances are you will fail. Why? Because, this will overwhelm you. Studies show that the more things you try to change at once the less likely you are to succeed.

So… baby steps. Perhaps, cut that soda to once a week, let that become a habit, then work on adding more veggies, when that becomes a habit, maybe add 10 minutes of exercise per day. Baby, steps.

Another thing, and this has been super hard for me, STOP beating yourself up if you slip up. You know what, it’s ok if you had a piece of cake at your sister’s wedding! It’s your sister’s wedding for Pete’s sake! Move on with your life.

Now, I am not saying that because you had cake you can get away with eating cake every day. That would be a poor choice. What I am saying is, relax! Enjoy life! Make gradual changes toward healthy choices that will make you a better person. Work on your body, but also, work on you mind and soul! Nourish your spirit with positive people and positive thoughts.

WHAT WILL YOU “LOOK” LIKE ON MARCH 11?

Just for a minute consider something…

Consider who you want to be on March 11.

If you were at the very top of your health and well-being, what would you feel like? What would your family members and friends say about you? How much energy would you have?

So fast-forward and paint yourself a picture: What do you look like on March 11?

That’s what the Whole Life Challenge will do for you when you join my team and make a commitment to replace a few bad lifestyle habits with good lifestyle habits. (You can learn more about the Whole Life Challenge by WATCHING THE VIDEO HERE.)

Once you watch the videos, you can join my team here: HTTP://WWW.WHOLE.LC/WLCNY16/PT/LOUDHOUSECROSSFIT For eight weeks, starting on January 16th and ending on March 11th, we’ll work on all the areas of our well-being—like nutrition, stretching, exercise, for starters.

The Whole Life Challenge is basically a game that challenges us to “try on” a whole life of health and fitness for eight weeks. As a team, we can win points and lose points (hopefully we’ll win more than we lose). And the prize is … Well, it’s who you are on March 11th. (…and a few others from Loudhouse CrossFit)

I hope you’ll watch the videos and join my team. In fact, I WANT you on my team!

Watch the video: HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=XBICEMIO-SK

To join my team: http://www.whole.lc/wlcny16/pt/loudhousecrossfit

Our Team’s name: Loudhouse CrossFit

Thrusters are the Devil!

For a lot of people thrusters are the equivalent of torture. People will “cherry pick” thruster WODs just like they do a running WOD. Physically and mentally they are tough.

The flip side… Some folks love them. Coach Mando for instance. She absolutely loves WODs that have thrusters in them. Regardless of prescribed weight and reps, she is like a machine and I can name several others athletes at the box that are similar.

OK… So why?

Why do some people love thrusters and some absolutely hate them? Well, there are a multiple reasons.

First let’s discuss the points of performance for the thruster:

· Shoulder-width stance

· Bar rests on the front rack

· Hands just outside shoulders

· Full grip on the bar

· Elbows in the front of the bar

· Hips descend lower than the knees

· Lumbar curve maintained

· Knees in line with toes

· Elbows stay off knees

· Hips extend rapidly, then press (Core to extremity)

· Heels down until hips and legs extend

· Bar moves over the middle of the foot

· Complete at full hip, knee and arm extension

* From CrossFit.com HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=AEA5BGJ9A8Y

Reasons you struggle with the thrusters:

1. You need a mature squat. If you cannot maintain your lumbar extension, (straight upright back), while squatting below parallel, you will not be able to perform a thruster correctly.

2. You have to have the mobility to properly hold the bar in the front rack, maintain lumbar, squat, and maintain proper bar path while “thrusting” that bar overhead.

3. Being able to use “core to extremity” to create momentum on the bar thus, making you more efficient. The idea of core-to-extremity means that the movements you see in CrossFit recruit in a wave of contraction from core to extremity. Basically, we want our biggest muscles to do initiate the movement and do most of the work, with the smaller muscles finishing the job. So, in the thruster recruiting the legs to initiate the movement and accelerate the bar into the finish. It is vital that before initiating the press overhead, we accelerate out of the front squat and extend the hips with as much force as possible.

4. Finally, and I think this is obvious, the requisite strength to perform a proper lift while maintaining proper form.

Tips for improving the Thruster

1. Improve your mobility and your squat. Just spending more time hanging out in the bottom position of your squat will help but, also work on freeing up those hips and ankles. Next, you need to work on the mobility in the shoulders and the thoracic spine. Hit up your coach to help you out with mobility or check out WWW.MOBILITYWOD.COM

2. Practice. The more you perform a movement properly the better that movement becomes. My tip…. Unload the weight, make sure your form is good, and practice the movement. (Perfect practice makes perfect) Practice will help you get the timing of the super important core to extremity.

3. Don’t forget to breath. This is a big one when performing higher rep thrusters. Don’t hold your breath. Try to take a big breath at the top, descend and exhale either on the way up or at the top of the finished rep.

CRUSHING PRS

Crush PRs

Last week at the box we saw a HUGE number of PRs in squat, deadlift, and push press. With that came numerous questions about how is that possible if we really haven’t lifted heavy in the past couple months on those lifts. So, I thought I would take just a moment and explain how that happens.

There are a couple reasons why. First, we are still programming for strength via normal CF programming. Second, for several months we followed the Wendler 5-3-1 method focusing on squats, deadlift, and push press. Then for the last couple of months, 8 weeks to be exact, we removed Wendler from our weekly programming and focused more on just a basic, old school, CrossFit program methodology. The whole reason for the break is the fact that I began to see people NOT hitting there lifts, especially on the last week before the deload week. For instance, on the last month before the break, I missed my 1 rep attempt and on the week prior I barely got my set of 3. It just felt super heavy to me even though my body felt fine. I noticed that happening to others as well the month prior.

So, what does this mean? Well, there is this little thing called central nervous system fatigue, CNS fatigue for short, that can have a giant impact on our performance. “Any time you move, the brain lights up with nerve impulses generated by chemical activity. A stream of these impulses flows from the brain to the working muscles, causing them to contract. We call this flow of nerve impulses ‘central drive’, which we can measure through various methods of arcane science. After some kinds of intense training, we see that central drive is reduced, causing a kind of fatigue even if the muscles are fine.” Matt Perryman Basically, what is being said above is you can feel fine yet still see a degradation in performance. Thus, seeing this degradation in performance, I decided it was time for us to take a break from the Wendler strength cycle so that our bodies and more importantly our central nervous system could have time to truly recover. The result, an overwhelming number of PRs because our bodies were recovered. Just goes to show the importance of REST.

MINDSET. YOUR ARE WHAT YOU THINK

mind·set or mind-set (mīnd′sĕt) n. 1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. 2. An inclination or a habit.

Your mindset plays a pivotal role in your success, not just in the gym, but in life.

Speaking from experience of countless hours coaching people, one-on-one and in group classes, I can tell you that I see the importance of mindset daily. As a coach one of my roles is observation. Not only do I observe movement but, also observe attitude and mindset. Many times I have observed one person show up to a group class with a bad attitude and it have a negative impact immediately on the entire group. Conversely, I’ve seen someone come in to a class with the “I’m about to crush this workout” and it have a positive effect on the entire class. The class as a whole was more upbeat and thus their performance across the board was better.

Attitude is contagious.

You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, let’s take that a step further— You are what you think. Let’s use age as an example. A recent study in the journal Psychological Science, found that implicit exposure to positive associations with aging were shown to be more effective on physical abilities than a similar study that prescribed six months of exercise!

Basically a total of 100 subjects ranging in age from 66-99 were split into 4 groups. A control group, an implicit intervention group, an explicit intervention group, and an implicit-explicit intervention group. The implicit intervention consisted of subjects coming in for 15-minute sessions, once a week for four weeks. They were shown a smattering of words like wise and spry, coupled with words like senior and old. The explicit intervention group was asked to write about fit, active older people.

After four sessions and follow-up at one and three weeks, they were given physical tests like their ability to walk, balance and get up from a chair. There were no improvements in the explicit intervention group, but the implicit intervention group showed considerable improvements in their fitness. (Huffington Post)

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

― James Allen “As a Man Thinketh”

So how can we proactively improve our mindset?

1. Start your day with some you time. Take a few minutes, without technology, to pray and/or meditate or to journal your thoughts or read something positive. (I can recommend several books to help with this if you’d like. Just shoot me message)

2. Love yourself! Shut down that negative self-talk that is in your head and speak positive to yourself as well as everyone that you come in contact with. Choose words that uplift. (I can, I will, I got this, you are awesome, etc.)

3. Surround yourself with others that are positive. One personal example I use for this one is I stopped watching and reading the news about 2 years ago. Most news is negative. (if something major happens you’ll know, someone will tell you)

4. Have fun! Smile! Enjoy the day. Enjoy the workout. Have fun, life is much too short to not.

Every day that you wake up is a blessing and you have a choice to choose the mindset that you begin your day with. Choose happiness. Choose to be positive. Choose to show some love. Set your mind to be awesome!

MENTAL TOUGHNESS: HOW TO CHANGE NEGATIVE WITH POSITIVE

Mental Toughness

How to change Negative with Positive

Is there and ongoing problem with gossip or negativity in your office, in your classroom, in your home, in your CrossFit class? How can YOU change it? Should you even try? Are you the one being negative all the time?

The funny thing is we never think it’s us being the gossiper or spreading negativity when in reality it sometimes is US! Every time we make a comment about someone or something that can be viewed as judgmental, rude, hurtful or negative we are gossiping and spreading negativity. If we are constantly commenting on others that we may not completely agree with then we are gossiping. Now how can we turn this around to positive conversation and positive actions?

Instead of engaging in or just silently agreeing in these conversations let’s try a couple of ideas that can help.

We can try smiling and turning the conversation in to a positive one…

NEG>>>I really don’t like the way __________ is always sticking his/her nose in on how I run.

POSITIVE<<< I didn’t take it that way, I appreciate the way they were concerned about my safety while running. NEG>>>Did you see what __________was wearing yesterday? I would never!

POSITIVE<<>>There was a very rude kid in my class today he was back talking the teacher and giving mean looks to everyone!

POSITIVE<<

WALL BALLS! YAY WALL BALLS!

(by Coach Mando)

WALL BALLS! WALL BALLS! WALL BALLS!

As all of you know there are two little dirty words in CrossFit…WALL BALLS

I hear so many athletes cringe at the thought of those two little dirty words! All of you know that I am personally a fan of wall balls, I LIKE them. But many of you do not, in fact I will go as far to say that you HATE them. You see them in the weekly programming and automatically pick that as your rest day. You avoid wall balls at any and all cost! Let me shed a little light on why we do them and why you SHOULD embrace them maybe even start to LIKE them, ok that’s a stretch but you get the point.

Let’s start with why you don’t like wall balls. They are hard, they take your breath away, they make your hands cramp, they make your legs hurt, they are almost always high volume (50 or more), they are mentally challenging (I can‘t do 150 WB Coach is crazy), they put you face up on the floor when done. Now take a hard look at the reasons you don’t like them or avoid them all together, those are the exact same reasons you SHOULD do them anyway.

Wall balls are one of the best exercises to make you functionally FIT! Functionally fit meaning you will benefit inside AND outside the gym. A functional exercise is defined as a movement performed in multiple planes using multiple joints. (HELLO, WALL BALLS)! Think back to the past week and think of every time you have had to lift something over head or squat down for something. Wall balls work 11 major muscles in your body! That is a lot of muscles being worked in one exercise! Quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings, abs, lower back, chest, front deltoids, back deltoids, biceps and triceps. Now let’s look at your heart and lungs. Wall balls will increase your aerobic AND anaerobic capacity. How you ask… Do Karen (150wallballs for time) and get back with me… And they will help you dramatically in your Olympic lifting. Squatting down, exploding your hips out of the bottom and throwing a ball to a target on a consistent basis, your explosive power has no choice but to INCREASE.

“The wall ball drill comprises two highly functional classical weightlifting movements brought together at light loads and extended duration to create a super-potent metabolic conditioning tool with an enormous potential for increasing athletic performance.” -Gregg Glassman, CrossFit Journal

Now that we have discovered why we should NEVER avoid a wall ball WOD and why you should maybe even decide to like them let’s look at a few tips to make them suck a little less the next time you do them!

1. Rest your arms

When the ball is in flight, you are in “off tension”—you’re not fighting any resistance or load. This is a brief period in the movement when you are actually able to rest, but a lot of athletes keep their arms actively extended overhead during this time. This is inefficiently and unnecessarily spending precious energy, so simply let your arms relax and fall down to your sides while the ball is in the air. Don’t worry, you’ll have enough time to catch the ball when it rebounds off of the wall, and you’ll actually be catching the ball closer to the ground, shaving precious seconds off of your time.

2. Rest with the ball against the wall
Obviously, for some workouts (see Karen), your lungs will be on fire and your arms will be spent, so you can’t help but let the ball drop to the floor—and that’s ok. But to save yourself from the effort of having to clean the ball of off the ground and get back into the flow of things, simply try placing the ball between your chest and the wall and let your arms hang at your sides. You’ll save both time and energy.

3. Make every shot count
I’ll play dumb and pretend that you don’t count the reps that hit just below the target—or not at all. But even if you do, it’s much harder to catch a ball that’s completely missed the target and is falling awkwardly, causing you to step out of a good squat stance and waste valuable time correcting yourself. Take the time and focus to ensure you strike the target with every rep so that you can get into a good flow and save yourself the trouble of stopping and starting.

4. Squat properly
Just because there isn’t a barbell involved doesn’t mean you should forgo the basic mechanics of a good squat. Keep your chest high, your shoulders back and your toes pointed forward. Make sure that you push your knees outwards when you descend and stand, driving out of your heels and snapping your hips up to generate as much power as possible for every rep. Keep the basic mechanics in your head when you’re in the midst of the wall ball pain and it’ll go by far smoother, I promise you that.

With that show up and have a positive attitude next time you see wall balls on the programming. I promise they are doing you more good than you realize!

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency

The other day Coach Mando hit a PR on one of her lifts and it led to a discussion between the two of us about consistency. We started discussing the fact that everyone that has been consistently following the Loudhouse programming lately is breaking plateaus and setting PRs on all their lifts. Including bench press which is rarely programmed.
As coaches it is our goal to invoke change in you. The way we do that is by programming great workouts and coaching you toward quality, efficient, movement that produces results. But, in order for it to work you HAVE to show up and do work.

Tips to consistency:

1. Make a conscious decision to remain consistent. Our mindset is VERY powerful. Say to yourself out loud “I am committed to remaining consistent each day in my goal. I am doing this!”

2. In an earlier blog I talked about defining your why. What is your goal? Why do you want to do this? Write it down on paper, say it out loud, post it on Facebook. Whatever it takes.

3. Find someone to hold you accountable. (Perhaps a training partner)

4. Research shows it takes about 21 days for a new habit to take hold. So, keep at it, keep showing up!

5. Show up even if you don’t feel like it. It is so easy for us to make excuses. Remember feelings are temporary and subjective. Show up, do the work. I PROMISE you will NOT regret a workout ever

On a final note, if you have been CrossFitting for a while and you find you have become inconsistent or blasé about your WODs. It may be time to reassess your goals. To find your why again. Then…. Be consistent!

DEFINE YOUR WHY

What is your why?

Why are you here? What motivates you? What is your purpose?

If you don’t know YOUR why it is impossible to reach that goal that you are pursuing.

When my fitness journey began my why was my kids. I wanted to be able to play with my kids as they grew up.

Then my why became to help other people achieve the change they are pursuing in their lives.

Loudhouse was built on that why. A passionate pursuit to change lives…. Physically, mentally, and even spiritually.

Today, take a moment to define your why. Then…. GO AFTER IT! Pursue your why with passion!

YOU ARE NOT A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE

You are not a unique snowflake. Chances are, you are pretty much the same as the person standing next to you. What I mean by this is that there are some universal truths, in this case, in nutrition and fitness that apply to everyone. You may have heard me say that you have to find what works for you and that we are all different, and I firmly believe that. However, with that being said, certain things apply to everyone, unless you have some medical condition that makes you unique. (NOTE: you probably don’t)

Everyone wants to hop on the latest trend or fad that someone is trying and having success at and I understand that. So and so is looking great after he removed gluten from his diet so I’m going to remove gluten. It’s gonna make me a super star. The problem with this approach is that it is a short term approach. Short term manipulation of your diet, i.e… 6 weeks to flat abs, can have an impact on your body composition short term but, for most of us, our goal/s are not short term. Our goal is or perhaps should be, long term health, happiness, and overall well-being. It is easy to commit to 6 weeks and shed a little body fat, or bulk up but, the problem is that you are manipulating your metabolism in a way that is, or can be, detrimental long term. For instance, if I cut my carbohydrates to a very low level I know that I will lose some body fat. (This is from personal experience) However, as soon as I begin eating ‘normal’ again, all of that fat comes back and then some. Why, simple really, I have convinced my body short term that it is no longer getting carbohydrates for energy, it adapts and we are good to go. (Short term) Then, I decide I’ve lost the fat/weight that I need to and I’m going to start eating carbohydrates again. My body’s response….. Woo hoo! Carbs! We better hold on to all of these we can guys because he may not feed us carbs again for a year. What I’m saying is this…. Your metabolism is brilliantly designed and does a fantastic job at adapting to whatever you throw at it. It’s goal however and yours are probably very different, you want to look like that guy/girl on the cover of the latest fitness magazine but, the goal of your metabolism is to keep you healthy. If it thinks that you have starved it of carbs and then you begin eating more carbs it decides it better store all of that for the next time you starve it. Of course, it stores that in the form of body fat.

So what I am saying is…. Aim for balance. Aim for longevity. Just eat real food. Don’t succumb to the latest fad diet.

Couple things that I believe are universal truths about nutrition:

Universal truth #1… What and/or how you choose to eat is key to body composition. Regardless of your goals this is true.

Universal truth #2… Real food is ALWAYS a better choice than processed foods.

Universal truth #3…. Your body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fat to function properly. Eliminating or significantly lowering any of these macronutrients is typically a bad idea. Especially if you are active. Your goal should be balance.