So there you are, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, right before bed, again. You know something has to change, but where do you even start? There are just so many options.
Maybe you’ll just click on the “more info” button for CrossFit Icehouse on Facebook, or scroll through their feed on Instagram; see how many friends you have in common, or maybe even drive by… I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it; let’s talk about it. What’s stopping you from taking that first step?
Gym-timdation is the state of fear and unknown associated with starting down your road to fitness. It is resistance to changing your current health and fitness path, even when you know that you need to make a change. It’s the gremlins in your ears telling you lies about your life and about yourself.
Now that we’ve given it a name, let’s talk about what it sounds like.
“I’m too out of shape”
You believe that you can be in better shape. However, before you take actual steps to do that, at a facility with coaches who will join you on the journey to find your fitness, your gremlins tell you that need to be in better shape. They tell you that you need to be “better”, to even walk through the door.
“I am too old”
One day you wake up and decide that you’re too old to learn new things, you’re too old to play and be silly, and you’re too old to have fun. Those gremlins tell you that you are an adult and need to conduct yourself as such.
“Everyone will look at me”
It’s easy for a gremlin to pounce on this idea that you are the one person in the room that has absolutely no idea what’s going on, especially when you’re learning new skill.
“I’m already injured. I am recovering from being injured. I don’t want to get injured”
Nobody wants to be or get injured; not me, and not you, right? Life doesn’t alway adhere to our wishes, so the questions you have to ask yourself are:
“How did I get injured?
“Do I know how to rehab my injury?”
“Do I know how to prevent the injury from happening again?”
“I’m too busy”
You have a ton of commitments to others and you fill a lot of roles. You just don’t have time to research the right gym, much less take the steps to join the gym, and actually attend classes? In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”, right?
“I’ve never been an ‘athlete’”
You have this picture in your head of what an “athlete” is supposed to look like and what an “athlete” is able to do, and those are things way outside your wheelhouse, right? You may even believe that if you were not an athlete in high school, you missed your window to ever be one.
Now, let’s imagine that you take those first steps, you talk to your friends, you click on a button and you schedule and attend an introductory meeting at Icehouse. At that meeting you find a program for you and sign up. Finally, you show up, and keep showing up consistently.
You feel comfortable in your own body. You walk through grocery store aisles with a confidence, you need to grab something off the bottom or the top shelf? No problem. You need to do some spring or fall yard work? No problem. You need to pose for a family picture around the holidays? No problem. You need to shop a new pair of jeans? No problem. Where does this new sense of confidence stem from?
Gym Empowerment is the state of self-confidence and strength associated with finding and walking down your road to fitness. It is the positive momentum that builds every time a gremlin is exposed and conquered.
Now that we’ve given it a name, let’s talk about what it sounds like at Icehouse.
“I am enough”
You are already enough, whoever and wherever you are. There is a significant difference between your nutrition, fitness and lifestyle behaviors and who you are as a person. We provide tools to help change your behaviors, and we teach you new skills all while celebrating who you are as a person. There is no such thing as, “too out of shape” or “too old”. You are already enough.
When you walk through the doors at Icehouse expect to hear your first name or be asked your first name. Why? Because we care. We care as coaches and as athletes. We care because you’re willing to spend time with us, and I already covered the fact that you are enough, so you bring something unique and valuable to Icehouse. We care if you move well because it’s important for injury rehab and prevention. We care if you are injured because we can modify movements to keep you training, rehab that injury and prevent that injury from happening again.
“This is an hour for me”
Regardless of the program, you’ll spend an hour, three to four days a week, with your friends, playing, learning new skills, building strength and moving your body like you did when you were a kid. You’ll feel the energy of doing challenging things as a class, and leave with more energy than you walked in with. It’s a time to leave all your roles and responsibilities at the front door and it’s the best hour of your day.
“I am a damn strong human”
It’s never too late to be what you’ve always wanted. If you have a body, you are an athlete and have the ability to develop into a damn strong human. Strong people are harder to kill; they’re useful to their communities; they inspire the people closest to them. The physical and emotional strength that you develop at Icehouse is second to none. There is nothing like having confidence that you can move your own body in the world, and in that world you have teammates that love and support you.
Being intimidated by joining a gym is absolutely 100% real, but the sense of empowerment you find inside the gym is absolutely 100% real as well.
A lot of times going to the gym can seem like a hinderance. Like what does one hour in a day a few days a week sweating like crazy, getting crazy motivated by a coach, and even sometimes pushing my body to a place of discomfort really achieve in the grand scheme of things. After all of that I still can’t do double unders, pull ups seem impossible, and I dont have the washboard abs or waistline that I want even after 6 months of solid work.
We talk about goals quit often in our gym, what should we be achieving, how long should it take, is it measurable?
The truth is that maybe we are focusing on the wrong things. Maybe instead the focus should be on finding our passion and purpose for being at the gym and grinding it out day after day. Maybe instead the question should not be what have I achieved in 6 months but rather what have I done every day to move myself closer towards being the person I think I want to be.
Passion and Purpose
Everyone has different motivations for doing things in life, but after 31 years of life, a shopping list of jobs, 2 extra years spent in college, and learning the hard way that life is not perfect, I’ve decided that what it boils down to for most is how do we ultimately feel about ourselves. Our self-esteem and self confidence, when we wake up in the morning feeling like we have a reason to exist and purpose behind our actions.
What does this have to do with fitness?
When I first started on my CrossFit journey 3 years ago, many of my goals looked like the measurable things that are pretty common in the fitness world. How much do I weigh, what do I look like, and how much can I squat. What I’ve come to realize, and it only took 3 years (laugh out loud), is that my purpose in the gym and what keeps me coming back has nothing to do with what I put up on the whiteboard, or how I look naked.
I DO FITNESS TO LIVE, NOT LIVE TO DO FITNESS!
And that is ultimately what the Icehouse way is all about, as many of you know.
As such my goals have changed a lot. I replaced the goal of a 225# snatch with kiss my wife 3 times per day. Do 200 unbroken double unders with read for 20 minutes per day (this one is still a real work in progress for me), and compete at a high level masters competition with read to my kids every day.
The point is that while my goals are still measurable, they really have nothing to do with me grinding it out everyday at the gym and yet they are the motivators behind my passion for fitness and health. With the change in focus, I still see the physical successes in the gym and it’s because I take the 1 hour per day 3-4 days a week to focus on me, that in turn supports growth and success in the other areas of my life.
My advice to everyone I speak with about their is health is to be selfish enough to take 1 hour of your day a few days a week to support the health and quality of your life in other areas. Find a passion for living and be damn proud of what you achieve in both worlds.
I think that we no longer need to focus on our health and wellness in the gym, but rather focus on our daily successes that we find working towards achieving life, health, and GREATNESS.
“You’re focused not on the outcome of your dedication, but on the dedication itself and person you are trying to become” Ben Bergeron, Chasing Excellence.
I’ve compiled a list of my Top 4 mobility movements that I do weekly. I have been working for months to develop a deeper squat. After spending almost 20 years in the military walking around in nothing but combat boots I have developed some pretty tight ankles. I also like to spend some quality time making sure my hips and glutes are flexible enough for squatting. Check out my favorite mobility movements below.
In addition to super tight quads, I have super tight ankles from spending almost 20 years in boots with an elevated heel. This stretch focuses more on my achilles tendon of my front leg and to a lesser extent my trail leg hip flexor and quad.
Lizard is a nice overall hip opener and complements the Low Dragon position.
Bottom of the Squat
In order to loosen up my ankles and hips I’ll hang out in the bottom of a squat with a weighted counterbalance, in this case, a kettlebell. I’ll hold this position for as long as it feels comfortable, continuing to work toward my goal of 10 minutes.
Couch is a deeper quad and hip flexor stretch than High Dragon, again, to undo the damage of sitting in a chair. I try to settle into this for 2 minutes on each leg most days after my training sessions.
Take a look at the video as I take you through my Top 4 Mobility Movements
These are my top 4 mobility movements to loosen up my hips. I use this series after I workout almost 3 times a week to keep things bendy.
Keep an up right torso and drive weight into the front foot while the back leg stays long. A stretch should be felt in the back leg quad as well as the front leg inner groin.
Start in the high lizard position. Twist body towards front leg and grab opposite leg foot. Stretch will be felt in the front leg groin and back leg quad
Set up with a tall torso with legs bent at the knee behind. Slowly overtime lean back so body drops either between the feet or on top of the feet. Stretch will be felt throughout the quad as well as the lower back which will now be in a overextended position.
Start on all fours hands and knees. Reach leg behind out to a full stretched out position and then bring the leg up, under and across the body so the stomach is resting on the foot. Stretch will be felt in the under legs outside hip.
Check out the link for a full video of me getting all sorts of Stretchy!
It can be really difficult to keep your fitness goals on track when it seems like no one understands the commitment you made to yourself to make a change. Aside from the people in our community at Icehouse, who are already on their own fitness journey and share your goals, there are family members, friends, and even co-workers, who do not. The people around you generally don’t want to derail your wellness train. Think about how it looks from their perspective. Something as simple as reducing the amount of sugar we consume can look like eliminating a whole list of foods. Making time for the gym could mean no longer watching as much TV with your significant other. These changes can look drastic to others.
How Much Do You Talk About CrossFit
Often, we want to talk about CrossFit with everyone we see, and why wouldn’t you!? It has completely changed your life, you can move like you were meant to, and you feel good because you are making progress from showing up consistently. We take time out of our day to make a difference for ourselves, one hour just for us. Not for your kids, not your spouse, just for you and your health both mental and physical. What else besides work do you deliberately plan time for in your day? This one thing is so important to us that we deliberately block out time in our busy schedule to make it fit, even if that means waking up before the sun to be here, 5:30 AM people I’m looking at you. OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT! Those people that tell you, “You only talk about the gym” eventually fall silent after a few months and you have made some gains. If they are good friends they notice the change it has brought to your life, and how much it means to you, and they begin to ask you about it. Maybe you gain another gym friend.
“Are You Really Eating a Salad?”
With the rush of everyday life, it is easy to get caught up in a cycle of eating out. Meal prep is a great way to make sure your body gets the fuel it needs. For something as simple as bringing a lunch we can sure catch a lot of grief though. “Woah, on a diet?” “Chicken and rice again!?” “Vegetables? What are you a rabbit?” The comments about your meal prep can be annoying at times. What these comments often mean is that they are insecure about their own choice of food and want to project it on to your healthy choice to make them feel better about their poor nutrition choices. We get that it can be hard to say no when someone asks you to go with them to get lunch. Having a meal prepped makes it easier to say, “No thanks, I brought a lunch today.” If you didn’t bring a lunch and you choose to go out, use this neat trick that I have learned. Be the first to order. That way you’re not the last one to order a salad when everyone gets a burger and fries. This throws your friends off balance and often they even make better choices. If no one else is as health savvy as you, and you are still the only one, the wait staff is quickly asking everyone their order which leaves no time to give you grief! By the time everyone has placed their order, they forget about what you ordered, and conversation resumes.
Family and health can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Especially with the holidays right around the corner. Grandma doesn’t take to kindly to you saying no to the plethora of sweets at family gatherings. There are a few tricks to keep grandma happy as well as stay on track. Snag one sweet, make certain she can see you, eat it in view, and enjoy it like you have never enjoyed anything before. Make a comment about how full you are while holding that last bite and take your time to finish. That way you have set the stage to say, “no thanks” when she comes around a second time. The third trip you can say “no thanks I had one already, they were so good!” Boom! Just like that we avoided 7 cookies for the price of one.
Another problem we can encounter at family functions is the lack of healthy options. Fruit pizza, delicious yes. Healthy? Not so much. Apples? Yes but cut up and hidden in whipped cream with snickers? Not exactly! The best way to ensure you stay on track is to prepare a healthy option to bring to the cookout or pot luck. That way you know what’s in your food, and you know there will be a good choice. If all else fails, fill up on the meat, potatoes, the carrots, and the corn. This will leave less room for the cookies and bars. Have water instead of pop or fruity beverages. With some time, your family will begin to pick up on you not choosing pop and will begin to not even ask or even go as far to say, “I forgot that you don’t drink pop.” This sets you up for success, that way you can agree, and reinforce the idea that you are the type of person that no longer drinks pop. Even the most stubborn people we know, our family, can help us on our fitness journey. They love you and want to see you succeed in anything that you do.
The Alcohol Conundrum
Living in the Midwest, it’s almost like we are obligated to consume alcohol. Maybe it’s to cope with the weather? Being a college student, it is expected that I go out Thursday through Saturday night and party. However, that doesn’t fit in with my wellness goals, and obviously wouldn’t be good for my grades. I go out on occasion, but more often than not, I’ll turn my friends down when they ask if I want to go out. This doesn’t mean that I can’t have a social life. You have options and some of them include not drinking. Be the designated driver. Paying someone to give you a ride is expensive and being the DD can save your friends a lot of money, not to mention the money you save yourself on drinks! There are a few restaurants in the FM area that offer a free meal to the DD. Even if you go with and aren’t the DD you can still have fun without drinking. If you choose to drink “Make good choices!” Being 21, the choice to not go out often has often left me feeling like I had lost many of my friends. They stopped inviting me places because I didn’t want to drink. It can be really difficult to maintain friendships when you don’t see those people often. I have since learned that if the only thing that our friendship was based on was social drinking, we probably weren’t that good of friends anyways.
While you might feel alone, know that we are right here with you. This gym is bursting with people that are on a similar journey. Every member and even the coaches face the same criticism from people that we know outside of the gym about our fitness. We are sometimes “fit-shamed.” We are criticized for making healthy choices, but we continue to make them, even in the face of doubters, because consistently making those choices is what helps us make progress. As you make progress it gets easier to make those good choices. Losing some friends because you chose to go to the gym instead is okay. For every friend that I have distanced myself from because they didn’t support my fitness goals, I have gained ten at the gym. The best part is the friends that you make here share your goals, share your drive, and will help you make good choices. If you think I’m not going to call you out for eating a cookie, while I myself am eating a cookie, you’re wrong. I expect you to call me out too. We want to see you succeed. The best part of being the fit friend is having other fit friends. Icehouse is FULL of fit friends that NEVER get sick of talking about CrossFit.
I’ve been lifting fairly heavy since my Junior year in high school as part of my full recovery from my first ACL surgery.Some light math that’s roughly 22 years now.Crazy to think.I went from there to Division I athletics and lots of running and lifting.A post college stop with a personal trainer and then I walked into my first CrossFit Gym almost 10 years ago.
The Long Game
I get asked a lot about “how do you do this for a long time”.My not so long answer is “you just do”.It’s not glamorous and my routine changes in a lot of ways. It’s Really easy to get wrapped up in those first 2-3 years when everything is a PR.Weights on the barbell and weights off your belly, makes it exciting but the truth is this is about the long game.This is about staying off medication and playing into your 70’s and 80’s.So although I LOVE competition and the thrill of it, that’s not my why.
What’s Your Why?
When you are wondering why you show up, figure out what your why is…or was.Do you need to constantly be competing or is it fun to tweak your own nutrition and watch your body change.What about playing around with Olympic Lifting classes or focusing on your gymnastics.For me the thrill of CrossFit is how many ways I can test myself.If my lifting is up, where are my gymnastics at, if my gymnastics are on point where’s my conditioning?So many options that, if you stop going through the motions, you’ll see so many areas to play with.I challenge you to take a moment and write down your why, post it somewhere you see and keep grinding.
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.