Every Day Athlete
Building every day athletes. That is one of our main focuses at CrossFit Icehouse. Every day that a person walks into CrossFit Icehouse, the goal is to prepare them for life outside the gym when they leave. One of the ways that is accomplished is using functional movements in our workouts.
Functional movements mimic motor patters that are found in everyday life. For example, when you back squat, you are building up strength to get up off the toilet when you’re 80; deadlifting is picking something up off the ground; pressing is putting an object up on a top shelf. These are all things we do regularly inside and outside the gym, you just have to keep your eye open for them.
Functional movements are safe. Watching a CrossFit workout and saying it’s dangerous could be like telling someone they shouldn’t pick up the pencil they just dropped because isn’t not worth the risk. However, someone who bends over to pick up a pencil and has never been taught how to deadlift or squat properly, could throw their back out. That’s where CrossFit Icehouse comes in. We want you to move mechanically sound through a full range of motion to stay safe inside and outside the gym.
Functional movements are powerful and create a high neuroendocrine response. You are essentially doing more good for your body when you use functional movements. Functional movements allow you to move large loads, longer distances, quicker than isolation movements. They also create a larger physical and mental adaptation in your body. So, if you want to become healthier, and look and feel better, functional movements are the way to go.
Functional movements are fun! They allow you to challenge your full body in different ways and keep you moving. You are not just moving from machine to machine in a CrossFit workout, you are the machine doing the work. There is something very special about hearing how someone’s commitment to box step-ups has made going up a flight of stairs easier, or seeing the confidence radiate off of someone’s face when they PR their deadlift. These are all fun and exciting things that happen with functional movements.
So, next time you are struggling through a workout, or perhaps are fearing coming to the gym that day to complete a bunch of wall-balls, think about how those functional movements are going to make you better at life and help you become a better athlete outside the gym.
Intensity is something we talk a lot about when it comes to CrossFit workouts. You may hear a coach say to you mid-workout, “pick up the intensity.” Or perhaps you finish a workout and say, “man, that was intense!” It makes sense that the word intensity would come up during a CrossFit class since CrossFit is defined as: constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity. However, if you only focus on intensity when coming to a CrossFit class you could be missing another important aspect in increasing your overall fitness: practice. To understand how to focus on practice during class or how to implement it yourself, we need to understand the difference between intensity and practice.
Intensity is not how much you grunt or sweat during a workout, and it’s not how high your heart rate gets during a workout. Intensity is work divided by time, also known as power. The more work you are able to complete in less time, or the higher your power output, the more intensity you have. Think moving large loads, long distances, quickly. This is a major reason why we record our workout results. We want to see if your power/intensity output is increasing. This can be seen by getting a faster Fran time or more rounds and reps in a workout like Cindy.
In the CrossFit L1 Training Guide, practice is defined as “an activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system.” With proper practice you will have changes primarily in coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. Practice is not coming to the gym and writing up additional metcons to complete. Practice is low intensity efforts performed at light loads and focusing on one task. A good example of practice is the skill development section of a CrossFit class. When we do slow overhead squats with a PVC pipe, this is a time to focus on positioning and balance. Then, when we move to a barbell or heavier loads, your nervous system knows how to respond with proper movement.
How to Implement
When it comes to intensity, keep going hard at 3..2..1..go, and remember to measure your results after a workout and be aware of where your intensity is at. This can help you understand how to approach other workouts of the same kind, or it can point out a weakness. For practice, really focus in on your movement patterns during skill work in class. Be aware of how your body is moving and notice different muscles working. Practice is not a time to focus on intensity. If you want to implement practice during open gyms, pick something you need work on and perform reps at very low weight with plenty of rest between efforts. An example would be sitting on a box and working on wrapping your feet around a rope. When that becomes easy, close your eyes and keep doing it. Practice is not always the “sexy” side of CrossFit, but it pays huge dividends.
Friday Night What?
“So, are you signed up for Friday Night Lights?” Have you been asked that question lately, or maybe heard it? Maybe you went home to Google it thinking you might be missing a cool comet show next Friday. Or perhaps you have been a part of the event in the past and have been waiting for it since last year. Either way, I want to talk to you about what Friday Night Lights is and how you can be a part of it.
Friday Night Lights is CrossFit Icehouse’s way of using the CrossFit Open workouts as a fun time to get together and workout. The Open is 5 workouts released over five weeks, starting February 22 and ending March 26th. The workouts are announced on a Thursday night, and athletes have until the following Monday night to submit their scores. There is an Rx’d and scaled division (we will also have an “Icehouse division” for Friday Night Lights). Once scores are submitted, athletes can see how they stack up against athletes worldwide, athletes in their gym, and more importantly, against themselves.
Friday Night Lights
Yes, the Open is the first stage of who will eventually make it to the CrossFit Games, but it is much more than that. It is a time to come together as a CrossFit community and have a good time. To make the Open even more exciting, we have Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Icehouse. Friday Night Lights is a big event where we all come together and perform our version of the workout that was released the day before. If you are an Rx athlete, go for it! If you want to go for the scaled version, you sure can! Also, if you need additional scaling, there is the Icehouse division, where we treat the Open workout just like any other workout on our whiteboard and scale to your ability. Not only will we all throw down, but everyone who participates will be put into a team. Teams will be given tasks throughout the week such as “drink your body weight in ounces of water each day.” Completing these tasks along with the workouts help you gain points towards prizes. So, there are more ways to compete than just the workouts. Also, did I mention there is food and drinks on hand for everyone?
It’s About Family and Fun
Friday Night Lights is about having fun with your friends like we do in regular classes throughout the week. It is also a time to meet someone from a class that you don’t normally attend. If you are worried about working out in front of a large group of people, that is a normal feeling. Just remember, those people are your Icehouse family and are there to cheer you on. If you are still unsure about signing up, grab one of the coaches or someone who has done it before and talk it out. Remember, you are more capable than you can imagine, so keep an open mind to trying Friday Night Lights this year.
So, let me ask you, are you signed up for Friday Night Lights? If not, register here.
The holiday season is a great time to catch up with family and friends, reflect on the past year and enjoy some holiday foods. This can also be a stressful time of year for those striving to eat healthy because of all the big holiday meals. Traveling and making good food choices can be exceptionally difficult. I hope to ease some of that stress by giving you some ideas for making healthy decisions on road trips and while traveling on airlines.
Have a Plan
The most important step to eating healthy while traveling is having a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you will easily be persuaded by unhealthy food options. Having a plan ensures that you have a decision made before temptation arises. A good plan starts by knowing how much time you will have to eat at each meal, and bringing snacks to cover unforeseen delays or flat tires.
When traveling through the airlines, good foods to have on hand are bags of mixed nuts, fruit, veggies, protein powder, RX Bars and potentially some hard-boiled eggs (though your neighbor might not like this idea). If you plan to eat at the airport, the best option is somewhere with a salad. Starbucks is everywhere and offers a good salad option. You can request additional protein and maybe sub the salad dressing for olive oil. If salad is not your thing, Starbucks also has pure protein packed options. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. Your body will thank you.
On the Road
For traveling on the road, a cooler is your best friend. Foods that work well in a cooler are eggs, avocados, deli meats, guacamole, salad greens and dressings like lemon juice, olive or avocado oil and mustard. Non-cooler options are fruits and veggies, nut butter, canned or packaged tuna and mixed nuts.
If you find yourself at a hotel, try to book a room with a mini fridge. Knowing you will have a fridge is a great opportunity to stop at a local grocery store and stock up on the foods listed above. A grocery store is a great substitute for a restaurant. Now days, most grocery stores have a deli where you can get some fresh meats and denser carbs like sweet potatoes or rice. Make a quick stop at the fruit and veggie isles and you have a solid meal! Also, keep your eye out for a salad bar, as these are becoming more popular.
Don’t Stress About It
Finally, don’t make eating healthy a huge stressor during your travels. If fast food is your ONLY option, order a cheeseburger and fries. After that meal, plan out your next meal to set up a healthier option. Remember: have a plan, stick to it, and enjoy the holiday season.