Has anyone else noticed that the last few weeks have been pretty low in Energy (not just at the gym, but EVERYWHERE!) Anytime you ask someone how they are they respond with “Eh, It’s February.” We are in the home stretch of winter which means cabin fever is starting to get out of hand. (We get it, we’re right there with you!) Here are a few tips to try to overcome that mid-winter funk to get your through to the long sunny days of lake season:
Make your environment brighter
I understand this can be extremely difficult as most of us go to work in the dark, then leave in the dark to go home and sit in a cubicle in between, but doing want you can to catch a few rays can do wonders for your energy. On those rare sunny winter days snag the conference room for an hour with the big window, leave for lunch or coffee and take in those rays on the walk to & from your vehicle. When the option is there, opening blinds and curtains & sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine. If none of those are an option adding a Vitamin D supplement is a great way to help get that extra boost.
Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety (we recommend you opt for a dark chocolate option). Other foods, like candy and carbs provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression. If you’ve fallen off the clean eating wagon after the challenge, try getting back into an 80/20 mix of clean eating to regain that awesome post challenge feeling! Adding winter fruits (citrus fruits, pomegranate, etc) & veggies (root vegetables) are both delicious and a great way to mix up those clean recipes.
Probably no surprise that we’d recommend that you get moving to try to shake the mid-winter blues. Even if you can’t make it to the gym find a way to get moving, maybe you try rock climbing or yoga to mix things up. Try to plan ahead so you have what you need in your car to get that workout in, otherwise you’ll be tempted by that couch and Netflix subscription when you stop at home for clothes. I haven’t been able to prove it yet, but I’m pretty confident Netflix is about 109% more addictive in February… Another great motivator – Sign up for the OPEN! A weekly chance to go all out among friends and watch the PRs stack up!
Turn on the tunes
In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term. So crank up that Bieber or whatever gets you dancing in the car on your way to wherever it is you are going! We’ll even help out with some sweet tunes during classes at Icehouse! * We do apologize for the Hall & Oats station day last week (but seriously who didn’t PR that day?!)
Ladling out soup at the local shelter or volunteering your time can improve mental health and life satisfaction. Don’t have time to volunteer? You could simply make a donation to a cause you are passionate about, or pay it forward next time you are at the Starbucks drive through. Even something as simple smiling at people you encounter throughout the day, verbally thanking someone for something they have done for you, and asking someone “How are you?” (but making sure you are taking the time to listen to their answer) can turn someone’s day around. There is a lot you can do to help others in many different ways, which can in turn improve your own spirits… win-win!
Last weekend’s HERO WOD to raise money for Officer Moszer’s family.
Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big. Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels. If a walk isn’t enough for you take this opportunity to learn a new sports! Maybe you could try cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, or even Ice Fishing. There are many options to get outside, just make sure you dress properly for the weather!
The good news is…Spring is almost here! You’ve got this!
Initially it is quite easy to start something new. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution got you to make that first trip to the gym, or you read something that got you to stop drinking soda. Whatever reason you had for taking the first step in making a better you, it generally fades before we really actually change our habits. Some say it takes 21 days to develop a habit, other say it’s more like 66 days. Either way most people struggle to get to that 21 day mark. Here are a few ways to stay accountable that can help get you there.
Start with the Why
This is key in making any kind of lifestyle change. Why are you at the gym? Do you want to feel better and get off your cholesterol meds? Maybe you want to lose 10 lbs? Do you just want to feel good enough to keep up with your kids or grandkids? Sometimes it is all of the above, but understanding what motivated you to start, is key to understand what you need to focus on to keep you going. The “why” you’re doing this is what will get you to show up on the days when you just don’t feel like it.
Set SMART Goals
Once you understand why you are making this change, set a few SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound) Goals to get you moving in the right direction. Maybe you want to be able to do a pullup. Maybe you want to be able to run a 10 minute mile. Whatever your goal is write it down, and put a plan into action to get there along with deadlines to keep you on track. We have a great goal setting sheet available, and we will be setting time up with each of our athletes to do this in the coming weeks. If you are not yet a member, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy for yourself.
Plan your week
Have a plan of which days you are going to make it to the gym, and which days are rest days. If you know you have commitments or early meetings that will force you to miss the gym, plan around them. Maybe you have to hit a morning WOD this week so you don’t have to skip 3 days in a row, make a plan and stick to it. If life happens and you still miss a day, a week, a month just jump back in. The longer you wait, the harder it is for most people to start again. And don’t worry about what everyone else will think of you being gone, I guarantee they’ll be happy to see you back!
Find an Accountability Buddy
Find a friend or fellow CrossFitter to be your buddy. Maybe you both always hit up the 5:30PM, ask them to be your buddy! Plan which days you will be going, and hold each other accountable if you skip. It’s amazing how knowing someone else is expecting you to show up can be that little bit of motivation you needed to get off the couch and go to the gym!
Sign up for Insurance Reimbursement
Another helpful way to stay accountable is to sign up for the Insurance Reimbursement Program. Most Insurance companies require you to show up 12 times per month to get some money back from them, what is better motivation than getting some cold hard cash back!? Couple that with a solid accountability buddy and you should be set! Ask a coach for a Reimbursement signup sheet next time you are at the gym.
We are slowly starting to see attendance pick up at our open gyms which is awesome, but for those of you who may not have used them or have any idea of what to do with that time, here are a few ways you can use them.
Make Up a Past Workout
If there was a workout posted that you couldn’t make, this is an awesome way to get that workout made up. This is probably the easiest application of open gym but definitely a great one!
Work on your GOATS
(Yes this is a goat…but not the kind we’re talking about)
Your GOAT in CrossFit is a movement that you are not so good at, and that is putting it politely. It could be anything; barbell movement, gymnastics movement, body weight movement, kettlebell movement, or simply flexibility and/or mobility. The only way to attack your goat is to work on it! Maybe you are trying to get that first double under, or string some pull ups together.
This is my personal favorite use of open gym, simply because I can tackle a few at a time if I so choose. There is always at least 1 of us coaches at open gym to help you choose which goats to tackle, or if you already know which ones you have your eyes set on, we can give you the appropriate progression to take you to the next level on those movements. Spoiler Alert: at least one of your goats will inevitably show up in the open….so destroy those goats and move on the next ones!
This is a great time to hone in your technique on your OLY lifts. If you plan to work on these make sure you let one of the coaches know so we can help you make the appropriate adjustments to move you in the right direction. We’ll even give you a few accessory lifts to take your lifts to the next level. We have also added in Barbell Basics on Tuesday nights that will serve the same purpose, but be more structured.
Maybe you miss some of those lifts from your Globo Gym days, or maybe you want to target that one muscle that actually isn’t sore this week; this is a great time for that as well. Bench press is often one we see people add back in during open gym, and that is great! I personally have been adding in some strict dips as well as back extensions on the GHD to work some of those muscles that need a little extra love.
Mobility is such a big piece of the pie that so many of us often neglect. This can be worked in with basically any of the above, or is a great use of the hour on its own as well. Grab a foam roller, lacross ball, the tiger tail, voodoo band, resistance bands, etc and start working that mobility! Listen to your body, it’ll tell you where you need to focus. If you aren’t sure just about all of us would benefit from some good ol’ fashion shoulder, wrist, and thoracic mobility work. If you don’t recognize half of that list, than come in for open gym so we can show you all the goodness!