For an unathletic, self professed nerd, I have made a great amount of improvements in my physical life. Going from never exercising to exercising every day, I feel awesome, I feel healthy (more on that on a later post) and I feel thankful.
I don’t think I will on the cover of men’s fitness anytime soon, but I have learned a bit about what it takes to get in shape and most importantly remain in shape. Although anybody will tell you that eating right and exercise will do the job there is a third component that nobody is talking about.
I call it the hidden treasure and together with diet and exercise, it forms what I call the CrossFit holy Trinity. What is it you might ask? It is attitude. (A settled way of thinking or feeling typically reflected in a person’s behavior). What does that mean? It means that for your transformation to become complete, you must exercise, you must eat right, and finally you must have the right attitude. You combine those three and you have found the recipe for success.
Have you seen those people, I call them downers, who, even when things go well for them, manage to find something to complain about? There are people who say, "No I can’t" even before they try something. There are people who find something wrong with everything and everyone. Don’t be one of those people, or I’ll hide you from my Facebook feed.
The point of this post is to make sure you work on your nutrition and your gym skills. Attaining the right mind set is just as important. All together these will make you a better person, a better athlete a better friend, husband, wife, partner, parent, etc.
As people, our lives are influenced and shaped by a bunch of factors. Relationships are definitely at the top of the list. Our values, habits, behaviors, passions and attitudes are definitely learned by association with others. Therefore, if you want to change your attitude, hang out with people you want to emulate.
Eat right, work out hard, and get in the right mindset-that is the CrossFit Holy Trinity!!
In more than one occasion you probably heard me saying “you are stronger than you think you are” or “when you think you can’t go any longer, you actually can”. Those two have been my mantras since….. well… since my brain tumor (but that is another story). CrossFit actually is a culture that allows us to see our potential, to see how far we can go. I have heard many things yelled by a lot of people during workouts, including but definitely not limited to the traditional four letter words and or the grunts that come with them… you know what I am talking about. We all have heard them and have made us laugh or shake our heads.
A couple of days ago, I had an epiphany about CrossFit and how it has helped me to build my mental toughness, “I can do another set”, “I can lift another few pounds”, “I can actually go faster”, “I am stronger that I think I am”. I have been lucky enough to see people transform their bodies and their attitude after started to train with us. It has been inspiring and I ask myself: do you know how strong you are? When you come to the gym, what is your mental attitude? I doubt that you come thinking I’ll lift as little as possible or I’ll try harder next time I come.
Think about that, for a moment, next time you are in the middle of a WOD, or anything for that matter, think about that. Think how far you have come and how far you still have to go. Think about when was the last time someone (outside of your CrossFit friends) pushed you to be better, to be stronger, and to be awesomer!! Take advantage of that encouragement and aim higher.
I have a few friends that go to a “traditional” gym and simply pretend to workout and assume that that is the norm. I get the feeling that a lot of my friends outside of the CrossFit culture are OK with that. That, it is Ok to aim low, it is OK to cheat on your reps, that it is ok to go to the gym and read a magazine while riding a bike and call it a “workout”. It is NOT OK at SCCF, we are really not interested in making the WOD easier for you, but we definitely will modify the WOD so you work as hard as you can.
Just remember, you are stronger than you think you are. With that attitude you will change your own expectations and deliver more. You will surprise yourself…
Ok SCCF boys and girls… this is the time to look back at the ending year and think about what you would like to accomplish in the new year… yes… your “new year’s resolutions” ...you got that right… the ones that most people make, the ones that we might share with a few people, stick to them for a few days, weeks and perhaps one or two months but they eventually fall to the side and get forgotten.
I think it is time to redefine and be different this year. You can keep your Personal resolutions to yourself… things like (cook more, watch less tv, talk more to your spouse, STOP SMOKING). However, I would like to challenge you to stop going to the box “Just Because”. Everyone that comes through SCCF doors should have a goal that want to achieve or something they want to change. Of course no goals is too big or too small, No one’s goal is any more important or valid than anyone else’s goal. They come from many different places. Some goals come from pride and a desire for a new personal best at something. Some come from family and not wanting to suffer a preventable death like that of a loved one. Some from vanity…who doesn’t want to look better naked? The bottom line is that they are very personal and extremely important to the individual.
Let’s have everyone in SCCF take a few days and really think about why you are here, what keeps you working so hard here, and what do you want from this.
We encourage you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the goals you want to reach. Look at each goal and evaluate it. Make any changes necessary to ensure it meets the criteria for a SMART goals:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Attainable
- R = Realistic
- T = Timely
“I Want to look good naked” is a great goal but tough to quantify and measure. Goals can range from races you will run, weights you will lift, weight you will lose, anything you want as long as it fits into the above categories.
So remember, you are at SCCF because you want to achieve something. It is time to get specific about it. Write them down, share it with your coach, mentor or friends and get busy achieving them.
Please post your Your Goal to the comments section if you dare!!
And then Yoga came to SCCF... We are proud to announce a new yoga class at 10am, every Sunday. Barry Au-Yeung is the yoga instructor who specialized in Vinyasa flow. Barry wrote a little something regarding his practice... He is a techie by day and passionate about YOGA, this is what he had to say about this new SCCF offering to our members..
"When some people think of yoga, they imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. That makes them worry that they're too old, unfit, or "tight" to do yoga. The truth is you're never too old to improve flexibility.
The series of yoga poses I practice are called asanas, they work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.
Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. The greatest gains were in shoulder and trunk flexibility.
Tell others to come so we can prepare another week with an awesome yoga practice
Remember, balance, coordination, flexibility and accuracy are all elements of fitness improved via neuromuscular adaptation. Yoga addresses all of these. Body awareness, or the ability to make your body do what you want when you want, is crucial in moving better. What is CrossFit ultimately about? Moving better so you can increase your physical work capacity. Yoga can undoubtedly help a lot of people move better which can get you CrossFitting better. Check out Barry's class every Sunday at 10am.
This is one of the dishes we served in my recent wedding: Meat and Veggies...it was Yummy!!
As many of you know, I was a vegetarian for a very long time. After years of eating tofu, avoiding meat and consuming incredible amounts of soy milk, I had no doubt I was doing something right. I was above all of you “meat eating individuals”, both morally and health wise. I am all about saving the environment, and reducing my carbon print in this world. I am also totally against the current practices of industrial farming. I think it is wrong and inhumane to grow animals in those conditions.
I grew up in home where we would grow our own food including our own chickens, sheep and cows During my long years of vegetarianism, every vacation I took and headed home, my mom would try to do two things: a) Get me to eat meat again and b) find me a nice hometown girl to marry. She never succeeded at neither of those two.
I turned vegetarian long before I became an endurance athlete and I didn’t know the difference animal protein would have in my body. I always ate plant base protein and that is how I rolled. Branden kept nagging me about changing my eating habits. It really got annoying. I was a vegetarian, damn it, and it worked well for me. However, he planted a seed of change. I started to read about the paleo diet and it all started to make sense, from a physiological point of view. But it didn’t make much sense, to me at least, from a moral stand point of view. Animals are living entities that we need to respect and protect. I finally realized that I should have one priority and one priority only, my health. After tons and tons of reading about the paleo diet, I decided to give it a try. I won’t go into the details here. Please talk to me if you want to know more.
In all of my readings about paleo, I noticed that most of the examples where people shared success stories dealt with seriously unhealthy and overweight people. The claims that going paleo yielded incredible results had me seriously questioning the validity of this. Wouldn't just getting off the couch and into the gym make an incredible difference? I consider myself a fit individual and I didn’t have any serious issues with my diet, so why make the change?
I would avoid Branden and his constant nagging about me going paleo. But, I saw people having incredible results because of CrossFit and their “paleo” lifestyle so after a year and a half of CrossFit, I decided to give it a try.
I wanted to track the changes I might undergo, so I went to see my doctor and explained to him what I was about to do. We talked about the possibilities that my body and my digestive system would go crazy if I introduced meat at once. I also decided to take some blood markers and see where my cholesterol, calcium, etc was and compare it after going paleo for 30 days or so. The doctor was also very curious about what we would find. That afternoon, I ate meat for the first time in many years. Oliver and Jim took me to a steak house and my first meat dish was a prime rib. It took me a few minutes to get the courage to do what I was about to do. I grabbed my fork and knife and went at it; it didn’t feel gross or anything like that. It felt fine and it was so freaking delicious. That night, I went paleo cold turkey and after dinner I headed home and tossed the bread, tofu, soy milk and … just like that, I was on paleo. It has been a few months now already and I haven't looked back.
Here are the differences I have found:
·Energy level. It has gone pretty high. I am always doing something and my energy level has increased tremendously.
·Better sleep. For many years, I thought waking up a couple of times at night and going to the bathroom every night was normal. It does not happen now. I go to bed and I don’t wake up until the next morning. I actually sleep through the night now and it feels great.
·Recovery. I do recover faster now. For those who don’t know me, I am an ultra athlete. In the past, it would take me a few days to recover from a race or a hard workout. I would be sore all over for days. I feel much better now.
·Memory. During my vegetarian years, I had to take vitamin B12 and other supplements as I often forgot things. It scared the hell out of me because as you know, I have a brain tumor and memory loss was one of the first symptoms I experienced when I was diagnosed. It turns out that after many years of vegetarianism, I needed to supplement my diet with vitamin B complex. Going Paleo, my brain is sharper and I am not taking any supplements anymore. It is incredible!
·Allergies. I can sum the results with three words "they are gone". I used to be on a cocktail of stuff all the time, Allegra B in the morning, Claritin at night and nasal sprays among others . After I started paleo, I forgot about renewing my prescriptions, I don't need them anymore.
·Fitness. My God, where do I start here? This is something amazing. Before I went paleo, I never did RX weights or did them seldom. After I went Paleo, RX weights is not a big deal anymore. I might not be fast, but I am actually doing them. That is the most amazing marker I have encountered. I am stronger and fitter. I am doing an Ironman in two weeks and I am curious as to see how I will do on my first ironman as a meat eating athlete.
·Feel good. This is by far the most important difference in my paleo experiment. I feel good, I feel healthy and I feel stronger.
Overall I believe that Paleo diet in combination with a rigorous CrossFit regime will change the way you feel and most likely will change the way you look, I guarantee it. 🙂
Nutrition is the NUMERO UNO foundation for your success. It doesn't matter what your ultimate goal may be: lift more, run faster, or simply shed those pounds. If your diet is off or, to quote Branden, "not 'dialed in' you will sabotaging the wealthy payoff of your hard work."
You cannot make up with training what you mess up with bad nutrition. We train for performance, we should eat for performance. Everything you eat as part of your daily diet is a choice. Most of us unconsciously make these choices because they’ve become ingrained habits. While you are changing bad habits, you have to start consciously thinking about the choices you are making. Eventually they will become second nature. You will find that you are feeling better and have more energy, which also reinforces your good choices.
I have seen myself “cheating” more often lately. That scone, or the muffin in the morning will catch up with you, as it has caught up with me lately. So I am going back to basics and ask myself the following 4 questions before indulging in a “forbidden” food.
- Is this going to make me feel so bad that I will curse myself 30 minutes after I have eaten it?
- Do I actually want to eat this or am I just hungry?
- Is it worth halting my current progress for this meal?
- Will I regret this tomorrow?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES…then do the right thing and skip that food. You will thank yourself. I am making a commitment to be better at nutrition. For many years I was a strict vegetarian and I was very careful of what I put in my body. I avoided animal products at all costs, until I saw the light. That being said, I should be able to forego the morning muffin.
Still wondering how you should eat for performance, check the Whole30 plan
I was thinking today that is not such a bad day to write about my “paleo mistakes”. I think that it made me realize that it's not necessarily a bad thing, after all we are human and a work in progress. I think I was able to give it a positive spin and find a lesson in my cheat ; ) ... Don't beat yourself up if you get off track, just pick back up at the next meal and move forward, instead of dwelling on your nutrition mistakes!