Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?

If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.

 

In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs and minimal staffing. Granted  how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.

 

“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR

 

The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.

 

Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes  are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.

 

These communities succeed when the all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun 😉

 

Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”

 

These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.

 

If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.

 

If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour long workout.

 

If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.

 

If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!

 

To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

The Power of Choice

Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of  summer… in 2012.

 

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

 

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

 

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

 

And life goes on.

 

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

 

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

 

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

 

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

 

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

 

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

 

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

 

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

 

So what are you going to do?

 

[GYM OWNER:] Add a call to action here, like: “Schedule your Free Consult here” with a link.

5 Reasons to Get Strong

Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason. Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

 

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

 

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

 

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

 

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life. A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

 

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

  1. The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
  2. The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

 

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

4 Myths about CrossFit That Might Surprise You

  1. I won’t “fit” in.

When you show up to a CrossFit gym, you’ll find a different scene than the one you saw on television. Guess what else? You might be farther along in your fitness journey than other people attending the class…

It’s surprising, but one of the biggest factors keeping people from the gym is not being as fit as they want to be. What a catch-22! So, before you rule yourself out from being able to complete the Workout of the Day (or “WOD” in CrossFit lingo) let’s try to view the situation with fresh eyes.

As CrossFit has grown in popularity you’ve seen the well-muscled men and women of the CrossFit Games. As you watch them run, jump, and hoist tremendous weights overhead you think to yourself “I could never do that.”

So, what do you need to do? Try to reach out to a local CrossFit gym and see what it’s like. Like in the popular romantic comedy, Hitch, when the date doctor played by Will Smith teaches his client to move in for a kiss. The man moves in 90% of the distance and lets the woman come in for the final 10%. That’s where CrossFit is going to meet you. By opening the door, you will have access to a supportive and accepting community.

Your coach will help you “scale” to give a similar workout as those athletes on TV. The difference will be with lighter weights, shorter duration, or fewer repetitions. Everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, but they are always there for each other.

 

  1. CrossFit will make me too big/bulky.

Getting too muscular is a common fear that many women have when they deliberate strength training programs. Developing bigger muscles is a process called hypertrophy. Hypertrophy will occur with a consistent resistance training routine. Training volume, caloric consumption, and hormones all play an important role in the growth of new muscle. Any person you see that appears to muscular may spend as much time training as you do at your full-time job. With that said, it’s one piece of the puzzle and most likely won’t happen on accident.

Most athletes find that lose inches in all the right places even with increased muscle. Clothes fit better, they have a healthy appetite, and even look better naked!

 

  1. Don’t a lot of people who do CrossFit get injured?

Do people get injured participating in CrossFit. Yes.

They also get injured while jogging, moving furniture, walking their dogs, and shaving their legs in the shower. Injuries come from a lack of focus, preparation, or by not listening to our bodies. In fact, the injury incidence in CrossFit fits into a category with most other recreational training activities.

The functional movements used in CrossFit model the movements we complete in everyday life. Practicing fundamental movement patterns reduces the risk of injury and helps us become more confident and competent. A quick internet search will show you the tremendous success stories of individuals who have used CrossFit to overcome past injuries and debilitating diseases.

 

  1. CrossFit will make me worse at my sport.

If you have concerns, talk to a CrossFit gym who has trainers with experience in your sport of choice; football, baseball, triathlon, golf, and snowboarding athletes all can use the CrossFit method. CrossFit can support their sport with workouts built around the various stages of their competitive season.

CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” It is a system of general physical preparedness (GPP). Being more prepared can benefit all athletes as they adapt to and overcome the rigors of their sport.

CrossFit is also designed to increase work capacity. Moving loads that are heavier, moving them faster, or moving them farther are all examples of increased work capacity. A football player who can perform more work will be stronger on each play he participates in. Increased work capacity will help an individual and team succeed in any sport!

 

4 Hacks to a Better Nights Sleep

Hey there motivated individual! I have a new challenge for you. Guess what? It’s harder than any whole-food-eating, gallon-of-water-drinking, couch-to-5k challenge you’ve ever tried.

Not only that, but if you complete it successfully I promise you’ll never want to stop.

That’s why I’m challenging you to 1 month of restful nights sleep!

So why is that so hard? Because for some reason our culture idolizes the overworked, overtired, puffy eyed stories of grinding day in and day out with insufficient sleep. We seem to overvalue sacrifice and undervalue our bodies. Not only that, but I think we all forget what it feels like to operate as our 100% rested and ready to go selves. I promise that if you invest in your rest you’ll never want to go without it again.

Let’s dig in to some techniques to help us prepare for an awesome night’s sleep!

 

  1. Optimize Your Environment

 

Do more of this:

  • Make it dark

Our bodies sleep cycle is regulated by a hormone called Melatonin, produced in the Pineal gland. Melatonin is released as the day grows dark and tells our bodies to begin shutting down. Any exposure of our bodies to light will reduce the release of Melatonin and could potentially disrupt the sleep cycle. Try blackout curtains, removing any sources of light in the bedroom, or even a sleep mask to really turn out the lights!

 

  • Turn down the thermostat

As drowsy as it makes us to sit by the fire, it actually isn’t ideal to be in a hot environment for a good night’s rest. According to Dr. Peter Attia, “the lowering of our body temperature at night is a cue for our brains that it’s time to go to sleep and increases the proportion of time we’re in delta-wave (translation: deep) sleep.” So what’s the ideal temperature? Most studies show that 68 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for sleep.

 

Don’t do that!:

  • Checking email before bed

Technology and sleep appear to be mortal enemies. A very “neither can live while the other survives,” Harry Potter/Lord Voldemort type of scenario. Staring at a screen make our bodies think we still need to be alert, active, and ready for action. AKA not drowsy, calm, or relaxed. Best practice: No screens in the bedroom. Turn off phones, computers, and television 30-60 minutes before bedtime to let your body know it’s time to shut down.

 

  1. Smart Consumption

 

Do more of this:

  • Eat protein before bed.

To ensure a restful night of sleep it is important to be aware of how we’re fueling our bodies throughout the day.Some studies have shown that eating a high protein snack before bed

resulted in significantly fewer wake episodes compared to carbohydrate based snacks or a placebo. Try a protein shake, a late night omelette, or some greek yogurt and peanut butter to fuel your slumber.

 

Don’t do that!:

  • Drink coffee after 12pm.

Caffeine can have seriously disrupting effects on your sleep.Try to avoid alcohol, tea, and any beverages that alter your state, dehydrate, or have you running to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

 

  1. Develop a Routine:

 

Do more of this:

  • Set a bedtime alarm.

We are creatures of habit and our routines have a profound effect on how our bodies behave. By scheduling out a bedtime routine each night our bodies will be primed for a great night of sleep. Try setting a bedtime alarm 8 or 9 hours before you wish to wake up. This is the cue to start your bedtime routine. Put your cellphone away, take care of your bathroom business, and settle down in bed with a fictional book or a journal to reflect on your day.

Pro tip: If you have pet get them in a routine that helps you stay on track!

 

Don’t do that!:

  • Wait until you’re tired.

Consistency is king when it comes to a good night’s sleep. If you want to wake up rested you have to exercise the discipline to shut down at a reasonable hour each night. Whether it’s turning off the TV or signing out of work emails, it has to be an active choice. If you continue to stimulate your mind, it won’t be able to recognize that it has to shut down for the night.

 

  1. Use your physiology to unwind

 

Do more of this:

  • Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system

Our bodies respond to the environment and are always in one of two modes.

  1. Sympathetic aka “Fight or Flight”
  2. Parasympathetic aka “Rest and Digest”

 

We can hack our parasympathetic nervous system to initiate the healing benefits of our rest and digest state. Try taking a hot bath before bed, gently massaging or foam rolling your muscles, or practicing long slow deep breathing.

 

Don’t do that!:

  • Strenuous Exercise

Exercise is incredible and will often help promote a deeper sleep. However don’t try to squeeze your workout in too close to bedtime. Training will ramp up your bodies Fight or Flight response and it may take some time to wind down after the fact. Try to wrap up your workout 2 hours before bed and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.

The Purpose of Intensity

Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

When you lookup the definition of CrossFit, this is the first sentence you will see. This basically sums up every other part of CrossFit outside of nutrition. So, for a moment stop and think about the movements you do at CrossFit and think of how they are functional. Pressing, running, pulling, pushing, jumping, picking things up…the list is long but not endless. There is a functional purpose in everything we do, if you don’t see the purpose, ask a coach, they should be able to answer that, quickly.

Now think of those same movements…do you perform them at High Intensity? If you’re not then it’s not CrossFit.

What High Intensity DOES NOT look like…

It’s not doing heavy deadlifts with terrible form because you are trying to keep the intensity high. That’s called an ER visit.

Intensity is not doing kipping pull ups because you can do more but have terrible shoulder strength and can’t do 3 strict pull ups. That’s called a torn rotator cuff.

The list goes on.

What intensity looks like…

Doing 5 more burpees when you feel like you’ve hit your limit and want to stop.

Doing 20 straight wall balls (because you know you can) instead of breaking it up into two sets of 10.

Doing heavy deadlifts at sets of three without dropping the bar in between each…and…every…rep.

Doing 65# thrusters because you know your form will go to crap after 5 at 95# but there are 15 in each set.

Going all out in a 12min AMRAP, instead of knowing you’ll be there for 12 minutes regardless so you might as well sand bag it.

“Discomfort creates adaptation, but it can be very tempting to avoid the continuous discomfort needed to keep driving adaptation—even as a CrossFit athlete who knows its rewards.” CrossFit Journal article Elliptical Syndrome Cripples Fran, Helen

Before I wrap this up, look at the workout called FRAN. 21, 15, 9, reps of 95# thrusters and pull ups. Regardless of how long you take to do the work, the work stays the same, it’s 45 reps of thrusters and pull ups. But if you can get that work done in five minutes, instead of 10, that’s where the results come. Intensity. If you can’t do the work in 5 minutes, maybe you need to lower the weight to keep the intensity.

Talk to your coach about how to get the best intensity out of every workout.

What the Open Means to Me…part 2

by Coach Blake

This is part 2 of this blog, click here to read part 1

It wasn’t during a Friday night lights, there wasn’t a ton of people in the gym, in fact I believe there was only a handful of people there. I hadn’t yet formally been introduced to Leighann, and had only seen her in passing a few times at that point. But I was more than willing to help cheer her on. I remember her being completely nervous, and she seemed to me, like she was a shy girl (again, I barely knew her at that point!) Matt decided that Erin would be the best choice as a judge for her to count her reps, so that he could coach, motivate, and help her overcome her fears. While Erin was filling out all the pertinent info on Leighann’s score sheet, I introduced myself to this shy new friend and asked if she minded if I helped cheer her on. Her response back to me (in her darling southern twang) “Oh that’s fine. I don’t expect to do much, I can barely even lift this weight,” she said in an almost confident response. She added, “I just don’t think I’d do well with like yelling in my face or anything like that,” she advised. “Oh no,” I said back, “I wouldn’t ever.” The equally usual shy Matt, assured as well, “Leighann, you just focus on what your doing, you got this,” he coached confidently. 3, 2, 1, GO….and she went! And she starts KILLING IT! Matt and I were awed, the Open magic was just happening! Next thing you know Matt and I are inches from Leighann’s face “GO Leighann, Go. You got more!” And she did. And she just kept repping that barbell like it was nothing. And by the end of her workout, Matt and I were as sweaty as she was. She finished that wod, dropped that barbell with and understated confidence, and with the biggest smile on her face said, “Whoooo, I am tired.” (So funny, and soooo Leighann) We lost it, and were all hugging her and high-fiving! You just couldn’t match that Open magic. And every year it’s repeated, and every year it’s a bond. It wasn’t just a lifelong friend I made that day, it was MY family growing.

It’s my yearly test. It’s still fun for me, even though I realize that one day it may not be. I still absolutely love to coach and adore every single one of our members. I love to see the drive in hungry veterans who want PR’s, as well as, the look of fear of the unknown slowly disappearing from first time members.

What the Open Means to Me…part 1

By Coach Blake

For as long as I can remember, I have been fueled by competition. Whether it was a sweaty summer game of one on one in the driveway, a championship match in high school wrestling, or even a backyard trash talking game of cornhole with my girl QB1. I was able to find Crossfit at a time in my life when I needed it the most, and at first I didn’t even know it. People closest to me know that I was in a job that I hated, I was the unhealthiest I had ever been, and the only competition I was having, was with my own well being.

Three weeks ago marked my 4th anniversary with Crossfit, and my Warpath Family. And I’ve been addicted since day 1. Everyday I wanted results, every class I wanted to be better, and every wod I was back in competition. Not only competing against the clock and against the whiteboard (which I absolutely loved) but more importantly competing against my addiction to smoking, and unhealthy lifestyle. Both of my grandfathers battled cancer, as well as my beautiful, recently late, mother-in-law. Smoking was no longer an option. I needed competition to distract me in a positive way, and it worked.

So looking back four years, just a few weeks into my Crossfit career, and Matt Galley tells me, “You need to sign up for the Open, THIS week before it’s to late!” So without fully understanding exactly what in the heck the Crossfit Open even was, I logged on, paid my $20, and signed up! (Gulp) I don’t even believe I was squatting below parallel yet, but I was in!

That was Crossfit Warpaths first year doing the Open. We didn’t do anything extravagant as a gym for it. But it was the most exciting, nerve racking, and exhilarating event I had been a part of in years. The electricity in the gym while ANYONE was doing a judged Open workout was indescribable. Even if I was only able to do one or two RX’d movements from the wod I was on cloud 9. And people I barely knew were cheering me on, and pushing me to go faster, and I couldn’t get enough. But hands down my favorite memory from that first Open was cheering on Leighann Miller during her first workout.

Stay tuned for part 2, tomorrow

5 Reasons to get STRONG

Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason.

Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics.” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life.

A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

We would love to help you live a healthy strong life. Schedule a Free Consult to learn more.

Coach Sarah’s 5 Keys to Good Nutrition

by Sarah Pinkston

Let me start this by saying, I am not a nutritionist, I do not have 8% body fat, but What I am trying to do is to fuel my body the best way I know how, so I can look and feel my best, and still have the energy to get a great workout in every day.  

Paleo, Zone, Atkins, Ketogenic, Intermittent fasting, Atkins, Mediterranean Diet, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem…. The list goes on and on! Just like most topics, there is a wealth of knowledge online about nutrition, and everyone with their Google degree has an opinion on the subject. The overwhelming amount of information (and many times, misinformation) can lead anyone to be confused on the subject.  One thing that most people can agree on though, is that nutrition is the base of our fitness.  

There are 10 million articles that can give you a breakdown of how the specific nutrients in our food supply our body, and will give you the chemical breakdown of why each diet works, but I am here to just tell you from experience, some of the most important things I have learned about nutrition, what works, and why we should care.

Sometimes more leads to less

When we think of a ‘diet’ we automatically think of eating tiny portions, because if we eat less, we will lose weight… right?  You may be shocked to realize the amount of food you need to consume in order to lose body fat while supporting regular exercise.  Think of it this way; every component of your body, including your metabolism, is like a machine, and needs the proper amounts of food to fuel it most efficiently.  If you let your car engine run on fumes, what happens? It stops running.  The same thing is true of our body systems.  We have to input enough fuel to keep them running at their highest capability.  

All food is not created equal

Ok, so we have to eat a lot… what does that mean? Eat more calories? Grab seconds? 7 meals a day?  We all probably know that we can very quickly find out how many calories a day we should eat based on our height, weight, age, and level of physical activity.  We can also find out what percentage of those calories should be proteins, carbohydrates, or fats (more on that later).  When we say that you should be eating more food to lose body fat, I don’t mean to increase that recommended number of calories.  What I mean is that by choosing the right foods, you will need to eat a greater quantity in order to meet your recommended calories.  

The most pure source of fuel for your body is fresh, unprocessed, whole foods that give us lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs.   These foods are, on the whole, less calorie dense than processed foods.  That means that you must eat a larger quantity to consume the same amount of calories.  Let me give you an examples of this: I can eat one meal from McDonalds, a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (780 calories), small French fries (230 calories), and a small sweet tea (130 calories).  That’s 1140 calories in a small sized meal.  Now let’s prepare a meal based on ‘good’ calories.  I can prepare 8oz of boneless skinless chicken (237 cal), one half a cup of brown rice (150 calories), and 2 cups of cooked broccoli (68 calories) for a whopping 455 calories.  Not only does my healthy meal contain a greater quantity of food, but it is less than half the calories of my drive thru meal, and will pack a better punch if we look at the nutritional value.   

You are a snowflake

One of the reasons that there is not one universal ‘diet’ that works is because everyone’s body is slightly different, and may react differently because of genetics, lifestyle, medications, and other variables.  The best way to tell if a nutrition plan is working for you is by keeping good records of what you are eating, how you feel during the day, how you feel during your workouts, and keeping an eye on how your clothes are fitting.  Sometimes a change in diet can take a while for your body to recognize, so it is important to stick to it for at least 3 weeks before making tweaks or alterations.  

Just because it fits, doesn’t mean it fits.

A huge pet peeve of mine is when people follow their macros (macronutrients: fats, proteins and carbohydrates) or count calories, with no regard to the quality of the food they are consuming.  I can make pizza, ice cream, and beer fit into my macros, but that is going to completely contradict my goals, which is fueling my body for success.  The number of calories in foods does not directly correlate with the health of the food.  Whole foods, fresh foods, unprocessed foods are the most efficient fuel for your body.  If you are not sure which foods these are, on the whole, if you stick to the outside perimeter of the grocery store, you’ll be pretty safe.

Plan for success

Let’s face it, most of us feel like we are on the go all day, every day.  Most of us don’t have time to go to the grocery store every day, spend 20-30 minutes cooking breakfast every morning, or put together a healthy fresh lunch during our 30 minute lunch break.  That is why it is crucial to plan for success.  You have to make a plan that is going to work for you and your schedule.  For me, meal prepping breakfasts, lunches, and snacks is the key to my success.  If I don’t do this, I either don’t eat, or I just ‘grab whatever’ when I am hungry.  I make sure to cook my breakfasts, lunches, and put together some pre-gym snacks every Sunday.  This may not work for everyone.  You may want to just make sure you have all of your ingredients on hand at all times.  You may be a crockpot warrior.  You may have time to cook every meal but have to have a menu on hand.  Whatever your situation is, you don’t want to put yourself in the situation of having no idea what your next meal will be, and opting for the unhealthy, quick fix.  

Check out the CrossFit Warpath Nutrition Challenge early bird pricing.