We often spend time thinking about the day’s workout, what we are going to have for lunch, and of course…work. However, we don’t give much attention to sleep. For some of us, recovery is just grabbing a protein shake after a workout and calling it good. Sadly, that protein shake may not be helping if you only get 6 or less hours of sleep a night. So, let’s bring sleep into the “light,” if you will.
The best place to start is your primary place of rest, your bedroom. Your bed should be comfy. If you are constantly waking up in pain or complaining about your bed, it may be time for a new one. Do a quick Google search on the top sleep performance beds, and purchase one that your budget allows. From there, we look to what is around your bed. It is best to not have a TV or your cell phone in your room. You want your room to be a place of rest only. If your bedroom is where you go to search Facebook, that is what your body will think that room is for. Also, eliminating your cell phone and TV from your room will cut back on your temptation to look at screens late at night. The blue light given off by cell phones has been proven to make you more alert and wake you up. If you use your cell phone as an alarm clock, buy a digital alarm clock to use instead (yes, they still make those). Just be careful how much light the alarm clock gives off. Which leads to the next thing to limit in your bedroom – light. The best-case scenario is for your bedroom to be pitch black when you go to bed. You can do this by placing black-out curtains over your windows.
Once you have your bedroom set, routine is your best friend for a good night’s sleep. A solid night routine can look like stepping away from all screens an hour before bed, turning most of your lights off and perhaps lighting a candle to let your body know it is time to relax. From there you can read a book, journal, or drink some non-caffeinated tea (or other beverage) and reflect on your day.
Overall, aim for 8-10 solid hours of sleep per night. Get your bedroom into shape, and mess around with different nightly routines that work for you. To dive further into the scientific side of a good night’s rest and supplements that can help aid in sleep, check out the link below.
Sugar is everywhere these days. It’s not just in your common violators like ice cream or pop. It’s also in foods labeled as “health foods”, such as protein bars, smoothies, sports drinks, and basically any item labeled as low fat. So why is this a problem? Well, if you have been through our 6-Week Challenge you have probably heard why sugar is causing problems, so in case you have forgotten or need a refresher, this is for you.
Junk In, Junk Out
Too much sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease – all things that we are fighting against at CrossFit Icehouse. You have probably heard it before that you cannot out work a bad diet. So even if you are going to the gym 5-7 days per week, but you are eating and fueling yourself with junk, you will get the health results of eating junk.
So, how much sugar is a safe amount? The World Health Organization recommends that sugar be no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake. This works out to be about 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to no more than 100 calories/day or 6 teaspoons for women, and 150 calories/day or 9 teaspoons for men. In Greg Glassman’s Fitness in 100 Words he says, “Eat meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar”. He does say “no sugar”, but that is with the idea that you will be eating good quality whole foods that have a normal amount of natural sugar in them.
Good sugars can be found in almost all whole foods, especially fruits. The reason we want to get most of our sugar from these sources is because the sugar is supported by fiber, water and nutrients that keep your blood sugar levels from spiking like they do with added sugars. However, too much fruit could be a bad thing as well. Primarily if you pack a lot of fruit in a smoothie. Blending up fruit breaks it down further so that your digestive track doesn’t have to do as much work, thus increasing the blood sugar spike. So, do your best to eat fruit in its whole state and don’t over pack a smoothie with more fruit than you normally eat with a meal.
We know too much sugar is not good for us, we have an estimate of how much sugar to eat and we know what sources to get our sugar from. It is our responsibility to make sure we are not harming ourselves with too much sugar. However, you are not in this alone. If you struggle with binging on sweets or having too much sugar, reach out to someone who could be your accountability partner. You could also talk with a coach or sign up for Precision Nutrition Coaching to help dial in those cravings. Overall, try and pay attention to food labels and become an informed consumer.
In this Technique Tuesday video, Coach Jordan demonstrates another way to use the infamous GHD machine… with hamstring raises.
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.
In Part 4 of this running series, Coach Jordan teaches a pose running jump rope drill. Give it a try 🙂