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Coach Anna’s Year in Review

Coach Anna’s Year in Review

2019 was a big year of change and growth for me.

At the very end of 2018, I was forced to make a career change and fast. I was pretty unhappy with my current situation and knew that I was being unauthentic and just not myself in that role. Coach Shoe and I, as many know, completed our yoga teacher training together in 2016 and had kept in touch throughout the years. We met for lunch one day and everything fell into place. I was mid way through my nutrition training and Icehouse was looking for a new coach. We got to work SUPER fast so I could come on board and start a nutrition program at the gym.

Kicking off the new year I was pulled in different directions.

I was working jobs both at Icehouse and at Family Wellness. It was like night and day, the differences between the two gyms. Icehouse felt like hanging out with friends and was truly the only place I wanted to be dedicating my time to. Enter lots of grinding and hard work to make that happen. Halfway through the year I completed my nutrition training in Tampa, FL and was brought on full time by Coaches Shoe and Mo.

Personally and financially, 2019 brought a lot of growth, too.

I really dug my heels in budget-wise because I wanted to create a side nutrition business, Body in Balance Nutritional Therapy. We also bought a house, so homeowner life throws it’s curve balls (hello basement flooding in the spring). I’m still not where I need to be, but 2020 is going to be a big year in all aspects. Looking back at 2019 is pretty cool. While there was a lot of anxiety, stress, and diving into my own health journey, now that the year is wrapping up I can see the change and knowledge that accompanied all of that.

I feel like I am ready to go into 2020 with clear goals.

And I have a fresh desire to make them happen. Things I want to accomplish in 2020:

  • Acclimate to life in Alabama.
  • Continue to provide content and grow the nutrition program at Icehouse.
  • Start a blog on my website: www.bodyinbalance.live
  • Stick to my personal budget and save $10K (lofty!)
  • Do some pretty serious personal development.

For me I don’t find a fresh start at the beginning of each year. Therefore, I take a new year as an opportunity to reset, regroup, and reevaluate where I want the upcoming year to take me. 2019 was a year of change and figuring out my path. 2020 is going to be the year to build on that.

Happy holidays, friends!

5 Ways to Weekend Without Sacrificing Fun or Progress

5 Ways to Weekend Without Sacrificing Fun or Progress

We’ve all been there.  It’s Friday afternoon, and you have been absolutely crushing your fitness/nutrition game all week long and are feeling great.  Then the happy hour invite rolls in for drinks after work.  The happy hour turns into a night out.  Which then turns into a skipped workout Saturday morning.  Since you skipped your workout and aren’t feeling great, why not just head to tailgate or watch football with some friends?!  Then Sunday shows up and you are still feeling sluggish, and there is still a lot of football to watch and beers/wings/nachos to be had.  Besides, you’ll get back too in on Monday…

Sound familiar?

This is VERY common. Especially in the midwest when weather turns cold and the only socializing most of us do is at the bar.  This is also something I struggled with FOR YEARS.  Here are my five tips to not completely derail your progress each and every weekend.

1. Get Another Hobby

Yes, I 100% understand that this is a gross oversimplification. However if you only find yourself socializing at the bar then you need to find something else to do.  I know for me that was exactly what my twenties were, heading right to happy hour after work, eating some half priced apps, a few cheap beers.  Rinse and repeat.  For me the hobby that slowed that down was CrossFit.

Did CrossFit alone fix my problem? NOPE!  Did it give me another, healthier place to socialize so I cut down on the drinking and crappy appetizers?  Absolutely.  Slowly I started to swap the crappy food for healthier options and cutting back on the beers because they were making me feel terrible during workouts (and really all the time).  Once I started eating real food, moving, and sleeping I began to realize how much better I could feel. I actually didn’t even realize how bad I felt before making those changes.  So while getting another hobby may not fix anything, it can be the shift in momentum you need to get started on something new!

So, if you’ve seen workouts, activities, sports (hello rec league kickball), craft classes, music lessons or really anything else you think would be fun to try, do it! Even if it isn’t necessarily an active hobby, it could help you reduce the amount of time you spend going out, which could be the shakeup you need to start making other changes too!

2. Plan your weekends

I know having some spontaneity is exciting and fun, and you should still allow for that from time to time, but most often we fall completely off the wagon due to lack of planning.

If you know you have a holiday party on Saturday night, PLAN FOR IT! Make sure you are hydrating and eating well the the day of the party.  Then enjoy yourself, get some sleep, then start the next day with a healthy breakfast and maybe something active to shake off the headache that tends to come from too many sweets or spiked eggnogs.  Avoid the urge to use a social event as an excuse for an entire 48 hour window! Have a good time, then get back at making healthier choices at the very next opportunity!

 

3. Build a Rest Day into Your Weekend

We need rest days every 3-4 for days to help us recover properly, so why not plan for one of them to fall on the weekend?  You can either plan a full rest day, or even better find something fun to do with friends and make it an active rest day! Maybe it’s a walk with your dog through a local park, going sledding with your kids, try an escape room or throwing axes.  There are lots of new places popping up that don’t require a drink to socialize! Another great rest day activity is meal prep!  Use one of those days to prep some healthy meals so you are setting yourself up for the week (or weekend) as best you can!  Having a plan for meals reduces the chances of hitting the drive through once hanger strikes.

4. Host a healthy dinner party or potluck!

There are lots of delicious and nutritious foods out there, and it is easiest to take control of the meal yourself so why not share with friends!  If you have been working on your health, odds are your friends know.  Why not invite them over for a healthy meal to thank them for their support.  And you can even show them that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to just take supplements and eat cardboard.  You can also host a healthy potluck, have everyone make extra and divide up the leftovers.  It’s basically meal prep done for you with more variety!

5. Give Yourself Some Grace

If you do stay out later and have a few more beers (or pizzas) then you had planned on, that is ok.  It happens to all of us, we are human and some nights are just too damn fun! Do you want to repeat that again the next day cause “screw it I’ll start again Monday!”? Of course not, but there is no need to beat yourself up over the past.  Often times the guilt we feel over “failing” ourselves with a bad nutritional choice can be enough for us to throw in the towel.  But why?! You have been working SO hard, and doing so many other AMAZING things, don’t let an extra slice of pizza stop all of that! I like to think of a healthy meal after a not so healthy night out as a way to get to feeling better faster.  I know if I eat all the leftover pizza I will be feeling crappy again tomorrow, so why go through it again and loose more time?  I want to feel better

The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

CrossFit, at the best of times, has a stigma of being the workout regimen for the insane, balls to the wall, would rather puke than rest individuals. Yes, it can be intense but it’s all a matter of personal choice. But the general population does not see that. Now take a woman who does CrossFit and tell her she’s pregnant.

Pregnancy, back in the day, meant a woman was to stay in bed and do nothing except grow a baby. Slowly through time, women were allowed to walk around and do the bare minimum, but don’t strain yourself, sweetheart. Fast forward through the centuries to today when everyone has a theory, insight, or, best of all, an opinion on how or if a pregnant woman can approach exercise.

What people need to understand, from what I experienced during pregnancy, is that the level of intensity a pregnant woman can work out at is dependent on that woman and her baby. That’s it. One pregnancy is not the same as the next. It never has been and never will be.

I was lucky enough to have an OBGYN who stayed active during her pregnancies and recommended I keep doing what I was doing during mine. Her only advice was to watch my heart rate and listen to my body. She recommended this not only because of her experiences but also because I had been doing CrossFit faithfully for 2 years when I got pregnant. My body was used to the intensity; I had self-awareness built up to know when to go hard or dial it back. The takeaway here is that I could keep doing CrossFit through pregnancy because it was familiar. Pregnancy is NOT a good time to start Crossfit if you’ve not done it before.

The first trimester was a learning experience.

As much as I wanted WODs to be business as usual, it became more apparent that adjustments needed to be made. During the 2019 Open, I did the workouts the best I could but found that my heart rate would get way too high to keep the baby safe. A woman’s heart rate naturally gets higher during pregnancy to accommodate the little alien and all the extra blood in the body. Weights went down slightly on all my lifts. The first three months were all about learning to play the same game but with new rules.

The second trimester is when the belly starts to form. As weird as it sounds, it’s about re-learning how to move through familiar movements. Once my bump started to show up, I had to adjust my position in my squats. All my extra weight was on the front of my body, forcing me to send the rest of my weight further into my heels. Modifications started coming into play. The beauty of CrossFit is that mods can be made without sacrificing intensity. I kept doing box jumps and double unders until they became cumbersome and uncomfortable. Then I did weighted step ups or went on the assault bike instead of using a rope. Running was almost completely replaced with rowing or biking. I always watched my heart rate and made movement choices based on what was best for me and my little girl.

Things got frustrating in the third trimester.

Burpees were long gone, most barbell movements were replaced by dumbbells, and my beloved wall balls were downsized from the Rx 14 pounds to 10. Pregnancy is psychological as well as physical, so through all the adjustments that I almost felt insulted by, I reminded myself that this was for a greater good.

My last CrossFit workout was 3 days before I went into labor.

I’m proud to say that I was able to attend Crossfit WODs at least 12 times per month each month of my third trimester. That was possible because we did it the smart way. My coach knows my mindset and knew how to communicate with me when I wanted to crush a WOD but he knew I shouldn’t. He made each workout approachable for a pregnant person without it being too simple, keeping my fragile ego intact. Looking at you, Baby Traps.

Another helpful factor was having an OB that understood my lifestyle and goals.

This, obviously, isn’t something a gym can provide as they are not doctors, but it is important to have a doctor who supports you. If my OB had said no working out during pregnancy, I would have gone insane. Working out during pregnancy is mental as much as physical. It gives you a sense of normalcy when everything else is going upside down.

The last important ingredient is to have a great support system.

Surround yourself with people who know your pregnancy and postpartum fitness goals.  My pregnancy goals were to keep from gaining a ton of preggo weight, (which I ultimately had no control over), and to stay sane through the mind-numbing, endorphins-producing “cult” of CrossFit. My postpartum goals, which will be attacked as soon as my doctor says it’s cool, are to go as hard as my body will let me and allow myself time to get back to where I was as far as performance.

It’s important to note that this is a reflection of only one pregnancy, mine. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy that allowed me to keep moving at the speed I was used to. That’s not the situation for everybody.  Some women are high-risk pregnancies and need to scale earlier or more drastically. And CrossFit allows for that. There are women who become so flexible during pregnancy that lifting the loads they are used to is dangerous. They can maintain the intensity by modifying the movement and CrossFit allows for that.

Moral of this long story:

If you know of a pregnant woman doing CrossFit, support her. She has talked with her doctors and coaches and is doing what she needs to do. She will scale as she needs to, rest as she needs to, and perform her best. Outside opinions are not necessary. In fact, applause to all the pregnant women, past, present, and future, who endured the CrossFit stigma as well as the endless opinions about safe fitness during pregnancy. You were strong before but, damn, you’re titans now.

As for myself, I can’t wait to get back and annihilate some girl WODs. Specifically Karen, Kelly, Cindy, Barbara, Helen, Annie, and Fran. Because after labor, nothing can hurt me now.

 

Why We NEED Goals

Why We NEED Goals

Goals can be scary. Even more terrifying when we put a deadline on them. Why is that? It’s scary because it takes comitment to make those goals happen, and the truth is no one else can do the work for you to make it happen. When you put your goals out into the universe, you have just taken the first step to making it a reality. In this blog im going to talk about how to set a goal, and then make it a reality. We will be following a common principle called SMART goals, with a few added steps that we here at Icehouse believe really “bring the magic.”

Step 1: Chose a Goal

This can be be anything, literally anything. It just has to be real. For the sake of the blog, I’m going to use something that we often hear. “I want to get in shape, I want to get jacked, I want to get toned, I want to get fit, I want to look good and feel good.” All of these mean the same thing, and are a great goal to have. But lack a few key components that can take them from a good goal, to a great one.

Step 2: Get Specific

When I say get specific, I mean what does that look like. I want to get in shape can mean a lot of things. Being “in shape” is very different for a strongman competitor vs. a competitive CrossFit athlete. For most of us this simply means, gaining muscle, and losing body fat. We have now taken our next step in setting a goal. We have morphed “I want to get fit” into “I want to gain muscle and lose body fat.” Another example might be, taking “I want to be a better basketball player” and morphing it into “I want to be better at shooting, or dribbling, or passing.”

Step 3: Make it Measurable

With the goal of losing body fat and gaining muscle we can measure that by getting on the inbody scanner. We can take progress pictures. You can even take body measurements. Find a data set, and get tracking! We now have a goal, and a way to measure your progress. The stats will not lie, if you are not making progress. you will be able to see it in your tracking.

Step 4: Is it Attainable?

There are certian things that are out of your control. This is not an excuse to not set the bar high for yourself. For example Navy Seal recruits must be between the age of 17 and 28. If you are 29, you will not be allowed into training. Thats out of your control. Thats the type of thing that I am looking at for attainability.

Step 4: Set Realistic Expectations

I’m not talking about the goal as a whole. Who am I to tell you that you can’t accomplish something? If you truly belive that you can, then it doesn’t matter what anyone tells you. I’m talking about being realistic about the time, and work that it will take to accomplish your goals. With the goal of gaining muscle and losing bodyfat, it is unrealistic to think you will trade 30 lbs of excess bodyfat for 30 lbs of fresh lean muscle in a month. It just doesn’t work that way. You are not going to see results eating pizza and drinking beer for every meal. Lets say you have 30 lbs of fat to lose. With excellent nutrition and consistent exercise you can expect to loose 1-2 lb a week.  That means around 4 months at the quickest and 8 months on the slower side with both nutrition and exercise dialed in. Sure you see some people try a new fad diet and lose 30 lbs in a month. More often than not they gain most of it back in a few more months. Muscle is even harder to gain, that reqires not only a balance of eating enough to grow muscles, but not so much that you gain a bunch of fat with it.  Any mis-steps and you add time to your goal. You’re going to have to eat your meal prep sometimes instead of going out to eat, and you are going to have to go to the gym when you don’t feel like it. How bad do you “Want to get in shape?”

Step 5: Give it a Time Domain

Now that we have made the goal specific, measurable, attainable, and have set realistic expectations, we are ready to give it a time frame. Be realistic with your timeframes and do not set yourself up for failure. We know the time that its going to take if we do everything right, but we are human, and we need to have a few things to keep us sane. So knowing its going to take 8 months minimum, lets set the time frame of next year. (It is October now, so I will use next October.) Our goal then becomes, “By next October, I want to loose 30 Lbs of fat, and gain 10 Lbs of muscle.” BOOM we have a vision people! That means we had better get to work. Not tomorrow. TODAY.

Step 6: No more “I want to.”

When you use the words “I want to.” You allow yourself the chance to fail. Quit it. You are better than that and you owe it to yourself to believe in your ability. If you don’t truly believe deep down in your heart that you can do something. Then don’t make it a goal. We have now changed our goal from “I want to get fit.” To “By next October, I WILL lose 30 lbs of fat, and gain 10 lbs of muscle.” That is starting to look like something!

Step 7: Have a Why

If you can not look me in the eye when I ask you why you want to get fit, and tell me with pride your reason behind the goal, then you have not dug deep enough. Everyone has a different why. I will never be able to find your why. You’re gonna have to dig that one up on your own, and it may change over time. Attach your why to your goal and it becomes extremely powerful. “By next October, I will lose 30 lbs of fat, and gain 10 lbs of muscle, because if I don’t, my children will not get to grow up with a parent that could play with them.” Pretty motivating, right?

Step 8: Lay Out Your Plan

A goal without a plan is like trying to take on a house fire with a squirt gun. How are you going to reach your goal. You already know what it’s going to take. So lay it out, and get the help that you need. “By next October, I’m going to loose 30 lbs of fat and gain 30 lbs of muscle. Because if I don’t my children will not get to grow up with a parent that can play with them. I will go to the Icehouse Fit 3x a week because the coaches care about me, and the members help hold me accountable. I am going to get 6 months of nutrition coaching from because that will teach me how to eat healthy and sustainibly for the rest of my life.”

Why We Need Goals

Keep this blog in mind when you fill out your next goals sheet. It is important that you take some time and really fill them out with a great goal so that we can help you. Without knowing your goals, and why you chose them it is extremely difficult for us to motivate you in the way that you need, it is difficult for you to motivate yourself without sharing your goals with someone who understands and truly wants to help. When you turn in your goals to your Primary Coach, be sure to use some of the things you have learned in this blog. You, and your coach need more than “I want to get fit.”

 

The Open is Coming

The Open is Coming

It’s almost October which means the Open is just around the corner!  What is the Open you ask?  Some of you may know it better as Friday Night Lights, which yes we did in February, it’s a Friday full of competition and setting some new goals for the following year.

A little background…

The CrossFit Open use to be the only pathway to the CrossFit Games.  Everyone doing CrossFit, including the big names Fraser and Toomey could only get to the CrossFit Games through the CrossFit Open.  It’s a time where mere mortals like myself and champions of CrossFit had the same weekend to do the same workout.  Pretty rad really!  All of CrossFit could test their times against the big dawgs!  Anyway, I digress, now we have fun things like Sanctionals (yes that’s a real word) where athletes can qualify to go to the games.  If you are familiar with Granite Games it is a Sanctional to the CrossFit Games.

What’s the Point of the Open Now?

The Open is a chance to test your fitness.  If you haven’t done one before this will set the benchmark for next year.  It’s a great place to reflect on your CrossFit journey and see how far you’ve come and how far you want to go.  The cool part is they repeat at least one workout each year so you’ll have a solid baseline.  They repeat several moments like pull-ups, thrusters, wall balls and of course double unders.  Yeah you’ll see all of those in some form in the Open.  Don’t worry, just like at Icehouse, there’s a scale for Everything so no matter your fitness level this will be a great test!

Where did Friday Night Lights Go?

Don’t worry it’s not gone!  As we went all out in February, we are throwing one big party at the end of this Open season and FNL will return in 2020.  This year each workout will be during Friday classes starting October 11thso we encourage you to coordinate with your buddies and crush a Friday Open workout.  We will be having a big party the final Friday, November 8th so mark your calendar.  We can’t wait to have some fun in a few weeks.

Rediscovering CrossFit

Rediscovering CrossFit

I’m no different than you.  I become impatient, I allow myself to get distracted, I distract myself, I look for the new shiny thing when the shine has worn off the last new shiny thing…

If you’ve fallen off the CrossFit wagon for whatever reason and think it’s too late…keep reading, get back on the wagon, and ride with me!

I started training at Icehouse because it felt different than any place I’ve ever worked out.

At 37 years old, with just over 1 year of training, going to 4 – 5 CrossFit classes a week…

I got in the absolute best shape of my life

  • “Fran” time was under 4:30
  • 5K Run time was just over 26 mins

I had the best body composition of my life

  • 76 lbs muscle mass,
  • 13.7% body fat

Enter…Distraction…

I should be doing more…I should be doing something different, right?…I’m bored…

  • I stopped going to classes and trained on my own most of the time, no friends
  • My workouts were a job, they were checklists to complete, no fun
  • I ate outside of my normal schedule and my normal diet more way often, no nutrition
  • I didn’t do any functional fitness outside of the gym; no play

Honestly, I took for granted the friends, the fun and the play of training in classes and let my nutrition take a dive.

…And how’d that turn out?

About as well as you’d imagine

My fitness regressed

  • Lost 90 seconds on my mile time
  • All of my gymnastics became more difficult (pull-ups, toes to bar…)
  • I felt sluggish, tired, lackadaisical

My body composition regressed as well

  • Lost over 1 lb of muscle
  • Gained 4% body fat

Now What?

Since July I’ve been training 4-5 days a week, attending 3 minimum of CrossFit classes a week at Icehouse, and getting an additional workout in, outside of normal class time if needed.

I’ve also recently added in stretching for 20 minutes 4 nights a week, playing on a  basketball court for 45 minutes 4 days a week and intentionally meal prepping every week.

…And how has that turned out?

I don’t yet have the body comp or fitness data (that’ll come with the “Fall Back to Basics 28-Day Nutrition Challenge” here at Icehouse in September)

But I’ll tell you what I do know for sure right now

I feel sore! Don’t get me wrong, the first few weeks pretty consistently, and a day or two a week even now, I feel super sore. There’s a difference to it thought, there’s a familiarity. It’s very similar to when I first started training at Icehouse. I feel my body growing stronger in places that had been neglected over the winter. It’s a good thing.

I feel energized throughout the day! I took out dairy and gluten once again. If you haven’t tried eliminating those 2 items from your diet, I encourage you to try, for 3 weeks and see if you feel a difference.

I feel connected! Workouts aren’t a job, they are an hour that I get to spend with people I really, really like, being goofy and getting sweaty all at the same time.

I sleep better, stretching before bedtime is a great way to start slowing down your mind and body before bed.

Most importantly!

I’m a better version of myself! I’m stronger now because I know that I can fall down, pick myself up and get back into habits that support the person that I want to be. It’s never too late!!

For More Info

If you’re interested in our “Fall into Basics 28-Day Nutrition Challenge” check out our Facebook Event and get all the details.

If you’re interested in jumping back into fitness yourself, take some time to schedule a meeting with a coach here at Icehouse and we’ll get you started!