Welcome to week 4 of your Flux Challenge, everyone!
Congratulations on making it this far! You’ve done some hard work not only physically but also mentally. There have been many changes for the better in the past 4 weeks and the aim is to keep those positive changes coming. It’s time to think about the Long Game.
The Long Game is what you intend to do after the challenge is completely over. Oftentimes, people think, “Yes, finally!” And revert to the habits they tried so hard to break, neglecting the good ones they have built. Continue your new good habits as long as possible, ideally the rest of your life. Remember that it takes 30 days to feel better, 60 days for friends to notice a chang
e, and 90 days for you to notice a change in yourself. Some people are lucky enough to see changes early, and that’s fantastic! Imagine what the rest of the 90 days could bring! The point is, don’t give up on your good habits and practices because they won’t abandon you or your development.
To stay on track, a helpful practice is to make goals. S.M.A.R.T. Goals are:
These types of goals make you honest with yourself and also keep you motivated since you’ll know what you want to do and by when you want to do it. These are not goals like, “Make it to the CrossFit games in a year,” when you just started CrossFit. It’s big, vague, and unrealistic with a beginner’s skill-set. Instead, a good example of a goal would be, “Increase my back squat by 15 lbs in 6 months.” Now you have a specific movement, a specific muscle group to work on, a realistic number, and enough time to accomplish the goal but not too much to slack.
There are also different stages of goal development, characterized as W.H.O.O.P.I.E. Goals. The W and H are the birth of the goal, the Wishing and Hoping. This is when we get excited and pumped up to get somewhere with whatever our goal may be. The first O is for outcome, when we begin to think about the end result before even starting to chip away at the goal. When we start thinking about the outcome, we naturally start thinking about the second O, the Obstacles. The obstacles are the excuses people develop that sneakily start to compromise the goal. It can be too much to do at work, not enough sleep, not the right time, etc. These excuses, (yes, excuses), do the most damage to our potential accomplishments. But, we have learned the importance of self-care and time blocking. We can move over our obstacles, or whittle through them, with the P: Planning. Have a back up plan in case the obstacles become realities instead of what ifs. If Obstacle X show up, what can you prepare or shift around to make sure that you and your goal are taken care of? The I stands for Identity. Make this goal a part of you. Let other people know what you are working towards. Make the planning process a part of your daily life. You are your drive. Lastly, Execute your goal. Take the SMART goal you created, combine it with your plan and ambition, and act on it.
Whatever goals you create are yours for the taking. You are powerful, willful, and gifted enough to reach it. When it comes to your goals, nothing is more important than having confidence in yourself. Believe unequivocally : you got this.
Time is the only real thing that you have control over. Let’s get real for a moment…I hate the word busy. If that word were wiped off the face of the planet I would be really happy! It’s one of the most overused words, and it will also make me look at you funny. Time is the one even playing field, we all have the same amount. It’s really up to you what you do with it. Each decision is a choice and I’m going to share the one thing that drastically changed the direction of CrossFit Icehouse, Time Blocking. Yep that simple trick changed everything, drastically.
Time blocking gives you back control of your time, so instead of reacting to everything, you can be proactive. For most of us from the moment we wake up we are reacting to our day. We have a to-do list that we’ll get to as soon as we put out this or that fire, we forget to eat because we’re running around all day and then by the time the end of the day comes there’s nothing left to give. What if you decided what you were going to do and when.
Each Sunday I sit down with my calendar and my to do list. I go through and I make my list of my non negotiables, classes I coach, my workouts, team meeting and family time. Those get put in first. Then anything with a deadline goes next and that’s where I stop. I do this same thing on Tuesday and Thursday to make sure there’s nothing missed or see if anything came up in the week that needs to fit in. This has allowed me to be productive, not busy. If there’s something I want to do I can see my whole schedule and make time for it.
I challenge you all to give this a try both at home and at work. Can you block off time for the things with deadlines, schedule times of day you check e-mail or focused work time. This has been one of the most positive parts of my weekly routine and it’s become a challenge to be more productive in less time. That leaves more time for things I really enjoy doing.
Ya’ll are crushing the first week of the Flux Challenge and we want to keep that going. In this first week it’s all about awareness and creating a space for ourselves. Something I want to dig into that can have a huge benefits on our health is positive self talk. Now I’m not going to say you can’t ever be real with yourself because that’s not real. However, we are typically our own worst critic and that is something we can turn around.
Where do we start?
Since we are talking about fitness lets start with our mindset during our Flux classes. Are you a person that watches Emily’s video and the first thought is “I can’t do that or that looks hard?” Let’s dive into that a bit, the truth is you can do it and you’re more than likely going to crush it right? We tend to set ourselves up for failure from the very start. I want to challenge on your Flux days to tell yourself, “no matter what we are going to do, I’m going to crush it.” This is going to take practice but once you master it, there’s not a workout Emily can toss at you that will rattle your mental state.
You’re Inner Voice
The second area I want to challenge you on your inner voice is with your nutrition. Everyone and I mean everyone has an off meal or an off day. That’s okay we are human, it’s how we respond to that off day that can really set us up to be the most successful in this challenge. If you find yourself knee deep in the cupcakes a co-worker brings in don’t self punish and then say “well this day is done, might as well get pizza.” Nope, the reality is it was a cupcake, not your whole plan, not a reflection of who you are, it was a cupcake. You ate it, probably satisfied a craving and now it’s time to refocus and get back on track. Now this shouldn’t be happening everyday but that cupcake (or pizza or latte or whatever) does not mean you failed, it does not mean you are never going to finish the challenge. If you can master saying “it’s okay, I’m still going to hit my goals and I’m ready,” you’ll really set yourself up to crush this challenge.
This week be aware of that voice in your head. Only you can change your story! Keep being awesome!
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.
Stress, it almost feels like a buzz word these days. It seems like people are always under constant pressure from all around to do more, work me and be more. Stress can take a real toll on our bodies, both physically and emotionally. Let’s dive in and talk about different ways we can manage some stress and the effects that can have on our performance.
The Stress Family
The stress family is not one to mess with especially when it comes to performance, we’re talking about anxiety, fear, pressure, nervousness and panic. There are lots of theories out there on what causes these things to arise at the onset of performance but some common symptoms include, clammy palms, negative thoughts, profuse sweating, nausea, inability to focus, and/or trouble sleeping. None of these sound like a good time. Now that we know what it is let’s talk about some ways to manage this stress.
It Starts with Awareness
It is known that some amount of stress can be a really good thing. Going into a workout or an event can cause a bit of butterflies which then turns on our “fight or flight” response, and this is a good thing. It can aid in performance and help us crush that new clean PR. When this turns bad is when we start to doubt or fill our head with negative self talk. The first step is to be aware this is happening. Once you hear that little voice start talking take a second, breath and try to find out where this is coming from. Is this your body telling you, hey you haven’t slept, you at a cheeseburger at lunch, I’ve had no water and now you want to do this? Or are you not trusting yourself, filling yourself with and then starting to panic? If this is the case it’s time to change the story in your head and start crushing some PR’s.
Managing The Story
The first part is making sure you are doing the little things outside of the gym, sleeping, eating clean foods and managing your recovery. Once that’s taken care of we need to recognize the story in our head and understand that sometimes it really is just that, a story. If all things outside the gym are on point, then take time to analyze what you are telling yourself. Yes you can do most workouts, yes some days you just need to move, yes you are a really strong human; it’s about managing the negative thoughts that create too much stress.
One of the ways I’ve found to help with this is on my way to the gym. I like to play upbeat music that helps keep my mood light, some people I know like to rock out on their way, maybe toss in some car singing and steering wheel drum set. Once you’re at the gym dive straight in before you can have all the thoughts. If you’re there early find a foam roller or do some mobility work to get the kinks out. Once in the gym I like to laugh at the barbell like it’s my frenemy. You know that laugh you give when you’re like “oh you say I can’t, watch me.” If I follow this little routine, I don’t get super stressed about my fitness and it becomes a very welcome part of my day. To recap, recognize your stress symptoms, find a routine or mantra that works for you, and keep the workout routine going.
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.