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One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

We have one week left of Friday Night Lights and if you have been participating along with us this year you should be feeling very proud of yourself.  The CrossFit Open (A.K.A Friday Night Lights) is a very taxing experience, both physically and emotionally!  There’s so much excitement leading up to one workout, there’s also the game of do I go scaled or Rx and dabbling in movements you may not have tried up until then.

So with one week left what happens next?  Well don’t worry Icehouse has some plans on Friday nights coming up this spring to keep you hanging out with your strong peeps and I’ve also put together a list of things to help you use all you’ve learned during Friday Night Lights…

1. Practice These Skills

Friday Night Lights has shown us some lesser programed skills like, bar muscle ups and overhead lunges. These are skills that take a lot of practice to nail down.  Taking time before and after class to practice these movements can make a huge difference for next year.  If there’s a workout that didn’t go your way, ask a coach some drills that will make that better for next time.

2. Local Competitions

Did you get bit by the competition bug?  Check out some of the local competitions and sign up!  There’s Granite Games Qualifiers, Festivus Games and Dakota Games all in our back yard.  Check out the standards, find some teammates and go participate in a CrossFit competition.

3. Dial In Your Nutrition

If you’re anything like me with the craziness of Friday Night Lights my nutrition sometimes takes a back seat, like in the trunk.  Thankfully we have already planned out a nutrition challenge for this reason.  If you’re looking to really dial in your skills and make big leaps in next years FNL then nutrition is the place to start.  Plus we might see spring soon which always makes eating well a bit easier.

4. Use Your Fitness

The weather is getting warmer and it makes it so much easier to use your fitness.  Start looking for things you can do to show off all of your hard work.  The Fargo Marathon is coming up and I know they have a 5K, 10K and a relay option for those of you looking for a new test.  There are also different bike clubs, hiking clubs and dog walking groups you could join in on as you are a fit strong human!

5. Take a Moment to Celebrate

Like for real, celebrate all that you have just accomplished.  There aren’t many people out there who sign up to give everything they have for five Friday’s in a row.  Celebrate all the little wins from signing up to crushing a workout.  What you just did was really awesome!

I hope these tips are helpful.  I know I have had a blast this year watching all of you crush these workouts.  Let’s make this last one the loudest and most fun of them all!

 

10 Components of Fitness

10 Components of Fitness

Continuing on with our exploration into the heart of what CrossFit is, today we’ll chat about the concepts that remain in the forefront of developing our athletes, the 10 Components of Fitness.

“Having a balanced ability across the all 10 components of fitness will ensure that you’ll be both athletic and durable.”

What does that really mean to you and me?  You’ll be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without specifically training for it and you’ll remain pain-free.

What are the 10 Components of Fitness?

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

    • Think cardio, cardio, cardio….We’re talking about getting your blood to deliver oxygen throughout your body more efficiently.

Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

    • Similar to endurance, but not the same.  This is having “gas in the tank” rather than being able to breathe and deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

    • Straight up ability to pick up heavy weights.

Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

    • Moving your body the way it was designed to move

Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

    • Emphasizes strength applied in a very short amount of time.

Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

    • Emphasizes raw turnover, fast as possible running, biking, rowing

Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

    • Moving your body in a specific pattern.  Think of this as learning the pattern of movement to achieve an olympic lift

Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

    • Kids do this all the time, think of a 3 year-old bouncing around a playroom.

Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.

    • This is keeping your center of gravity over whatever base of support you have at any given moment (this is why it’s harder to balance on one foot rather than two)

Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity

    • This is both knowing what to do and having the coordination to do it.

Holy smokes, that’s a lot…How do I get better at ALL of them?

Great question!  Improvement breaks down to a couple different adaptations.  Once is physiological (your body), the other is neurological (the pathways between your brain and your muscles).  We’ll talk about them in the sections below.

Forged through Training

The components below get better because your body adapts without you having to think about any of it.  By adding this new stress to your body, your body adapts, it’s as easy as that. You’ll often recognize these improvements first as you start training.

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance

  • Stamina

  • Strength

  • Flexibility

Forged through Practice

The components below get better because you build the connection between your brain and your muscles.  These improve through thoughtful practice. Think about closing your eyes and standing on one leg. You will get better with practice, but it will take a lot of thought in the early stages.  Building a superhighway between your brain and your muscles takes thoughtful practice, and it is often overlooked. I would contend that these components are the most vital for life outside the gym, and living independently as long as possible.

  • Agility

  • Balance

  • Accuracy

Forged through Both Training and Practice

The components below are improved with a mixture of both training and practice.  We’re taking newly gained strength, stamina, endurance or flexibility and coupling it with newly gained accuracy, balance and agility and display speed and power.  For example, you gain leg strength, balance and coordination, you turn into a faster sprinter.

  • Power

  • Speed

What does that all mean to me?

It means there are multiple ways to reflect improvement and celebrate achievement.  It means our training includes a super heavy back squat and also being able to stand on one foot and bounce a ball against a wall.  It means there are multiple times within every hour you train with us to achieve a win for the day, week, month and year.

 

Clean Eating

Clean Eating

In any fitness regiment, the most important, and often least considered, element is the diet.  And by diet, I don’t mean a fad diet saying you can’t eat any carbs ever, or you can only eat cucumbers for the next 30 days, or shakes for every meal for the foreseeable future.

None of these are sustainable over a long period of time and oftentimes they don’t even address the actual root of a bad diet.  A wise woman once said to me, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” meaning that no matter how dedicated you are to working out, a bad diet will thwart your results every time.  So what can we eat to supplement and enhance an active lifestyle while at the same time being fulfilling and full of freedom?  Short answer: clean eating.

What is clean eating?

Clean eating is the basic idea of eating food as close to its natural, raw form as possible.  This does not include boxed, bagged, or packaged foods.  It also excludes processed foods as they contain a TON of unnecessary sugar, salt, saturated fats, all the unhelpful stuff.

Imagine your grocery store.  Now picture the perimeter of the store.  All the produce is there, (fresh fruits and vegetables galore), raw, fresh cuts of meat, the eggs, the spices; the stuff that you could eat from nature without having to add preservatives.  The purpose of eating clean is to eat for nourishment and fuel.

Clean eating powers the body more efficiently.  The fibers in fruits and vegetables keep the metabolism working longer.  Fresh meat contains protein to help build and replenish muscles.  Healthy fats that run the cells smoothly are found in eggs, nuts, seeds, and more.  Essentially, the more naturally colorful the food is, the better.

From personal experience, after clean eating for two months then dipping my toes back into the processed food world, I felt sluggish, out of focus, and noticed I didn’t perform as well in the gym.

Balance in Important

Of course, life is about balance.  If you discover that you’re drinking a soda or two everyday, replace them with Zevia, Bubly, or La Croix.  If your meals are mostly microwaved from a box, start weaning yourself off your sugar/salt addiction by replacing a meal with chicken tacos, with fresh veggies, or any number of delicious, fresh meals.  Eventually, work your way into the 80/20 realm where 80% or more of your food intake is clean food and 20% or less is your treat food.  This way you can satisfy your cravings but you take in much more quality sustainence.  Meal prepping is invaluable in this.

Clean up your act!  Eat clean!  (Insert cheesy wink here)

Want More Info/Help with Nutrition?

Clean eating is a great place to start, but if you want more information or a more specific plan and some accountability Icehouse does offer Nutrition Coaching.  To learn more with a free Intro call, snag your time here to see if we can help: https://meetme.so/IcehouseNutritionConsult

 

Five Health Benefits of Sleep

Five Health Benefits of Sleep

Sleep makes us feel better.

Whether it is a good nights’ sleep or a nap throughout the day, sleeping improves our mood and refreshes our energy. Getting enough sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and there are a host of benefits to our hearts, minds, weight, and more.

Below are five health benefits of getting adequate sleep and why we should strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

  1. Sharpens our brain function. During the day we are constantly overstimulated with thoughts and information that we don’t have time to properly store new memories. Sleep lets our brains catch up on that process, so we are better able to receive and retrieve information.
  2. Boosts our mood. Along with not properly storing information during the day, we also do not properly process our emotions. Being overwhelmed and on-the-go during the day doesn’t leave us much room to sit and think about how we are feeling at a given moment. Sleeping gives us the down time to recognize what we are feeling and react appropriately. A good nights’ sleep can help us bounce back from a bad day, improve our outlook on a situation, and leave us better prepared to face the accompanying challenges.
  3. Healthier heart. When we sleep our blood pressure decreases and this gives our hearts and blood vessels time to rest a bit. The longer we are awake the longer our blood pressure is elevated. Chronic high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
  4. Increased athletic performance and weight control. Proper sleep sets us up for physical performance. During the time we are sleeping our muscles have the chance to recover and repair. Sleep also heightens our motivation and gives us the energy to perform better. Sleep deprivation messes with our hunger hormones– leptin and ghrelin– which control our appetite. When these are out of balance we have a harder time saying no to unhealthy foods and when we are tired we have a harder time getting up to exercise. These go hand in hand with weight gain.
  5. Regulates blood sugar. During the deep part of our sleep, our blood glucose level drops. Lack of sleep and not spending enough time in a deep sleep means that we don’t get that drop in blood sugar. This drop in blood sugar is important to reset our hunger hormones and let our bodies fast to clear excess sugars and digest our food from the night before completely. As we all know, consistently elevated blood sugar leads to metabolic diseases, such as Type II Diabetes.

Here are a few tips to help you sleep better at night and ensure you get adequate rest:

  1. Establish a night-time routine. Wash your face and brush your teeth prior to bed. Allow your body and mind to wind down sending signals that it is getting close to bedtime (i.e. read a book, listen to soothing music). Go to bed at a set time each night and stick to it.
  2. Keep electronics out of bed. Easier said than done, but the blue light produced from electronic screens suppresses the body’s natural ability to produce melatonin, an important hormone for sleep.
  3. Set up your sleeping space for optimal rest. Invest in a mattress pad or silk sheets. Turn on a fan or noisemaker to block out any sounds. Make your room as dark as possible. Associate your sleeping space with a sense of tranquility.
  4. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. The effects of caffeine can take six to eight hours to wear off, so make sure you aren’t drinking caffeinated beverages that amount of time prior to when you go to sleep.

Sleep is so important, so make sure you take the time to make it a priority. Your body will thank you for it!

Vitamin D And CBD, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

Vitamin D And CBD, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

Supplementing (Especially During Fargo Winters)

It’s no secret that Fargo winters are cold and dreary, hell we even had to close for the first time ever due to cold temps last week! But that being said, there are plenty of things that you can do to help get through these long winter months if going out in the cold really isn’t your thing (clearly this is a Coach Shoe blog).

We often talk about supplements as being a “supplement to” and not a “replacement” especially when we talk about protein and some other items from our retail store.  If you can get it from food, that is always the preferred approach, but sometimes supplementing what we eat, or what we lack from our environment can be extremely helpful.  Two of my favorite supplements are Vitamin D (especially during these cold, dark winter months) and CBD Oil.

Vitamin D – Liquid Sunshine

Vitamin D is a very frequently recommended supplement for folks who live in our part of the world.  The long nights and short days, partnered with the cold temps that keep us inside make getting naturally occurring rays of sunshine nearly impossible for most of the year.  The main way our bodies get Vitamin D is by exposure to ultraviolet B rays (aka sunlight).  You may also get some Vitamin D from foods such as fatty fish (like tuna, mackerel, & salmon) and egg yolks, but still sun exposure is the most natural source. Therefore to get our full requirement supplementation may be necessary. Some symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Getting Sick or Infected Often
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Bone and Back Pain
  • Depression. (Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD))
  • Impaired Wound Healing
  • Bone Loss
  • Hair Loss
  • Muscle Pain

Supplements & Light Therapy Boxes

Now that you know what can happen if you are deficient in vitamin, now you may be wandering how you bridge the gap considering it’s dangerous at these temperatures to expose your skin to the sun, and the list of foods containing Vitamin D is oddly low. There are 2 easy ways to help: Supplements & Light Therapy Lamps. Light Therapy Box Sunlight Jr

SFH Fish Oil Supplements we stock at the gym.  We have a liquid form available (fast digesting) and a pill for those not into the shot of fish oil!  You can also get some Vitamin D drops if Fish Oil isn’t your jam (Ask Coach Anna about those!)

While Light therapy may not necessarily supplement you with Vitamin D (unless you buy a lamp that puts out UV Rays, which can be problematic for other skin damage reasons) it is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep and SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Light Therapy boxes (like my Sunbox Jr.) mimic natural light, and used early in the day in 20-30 minute increments while reading or eating breakfast can help elevate mood significantly, or at least that has been my experience.

CBD Oil

CBD Oil is another great supplement year round.  There are a TON of different products floating around, many of which are not well managed or controlled which has added to the confusion around what CBD Oil is or isn’t.  I’ll discuss CBD Oil using the product we recommend at Icehouse & I use daily: Charlotte’s Web(CW) Isolate.  The main reason I use it is to help with my anxiety and sleep, it’s been an absolute game changer to help me sleep.  It also reduced inflammation & soreness which is just an added bonus for me!

If you are new to the conversation, you may have the impression CBD oil is Marijuana or “Pot”  it is not, it is derived from Hemp. They have a great blog on their website that breaks down the differences between CW, Hemp Seed Oil & Marijuana (which CW CBD Oil IS NOT) if you want to learn even more HERE, but I’ll keep it to the cliff notes for brevity.

Here is where the confusion comes in: Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis and contain phytocannabinoids.

Phyto means “plant.” Humans and all mammals produce what are known as endocannabinoids. Endomeans “within.” These compounds are key players in normal immune and central nervous system function. Hemp’s phytocannabinoids work with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a vast receptor system that helps support homeostasis and health.

Some helpful facts to differentiate between CBD & THC:

  • Marijuana has > 0.3% THC (the only phytocannabinoid that gets you “high”)
    • **AKA NOT CBD OIL**
  • Hemp has < 0.3% THC and is NOT psychoactive
    • **CW Isolate tests to ensure less then 13 parts per million
  • Marijuana is most often associated with THC and hemp extract (like CW) is often associated with CBD, a health & wellness phytocannabinoid.
  • Charlotte’s Web proprietary, non-GMO hemp genetics contain a unique combination of phytocannbinoids; it’s more than just CBD. CW also includes naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and other valuable hemp compounds that work synergistically to heighten positive effects, sometimes referred to as the “Entourage Effect,” making it more complete than single-compound CBD alternatives.

Ok that all sounds great but what does that mean?!?

Basically the phytocannabinoids in CBD fill in the gap in our ECS to help our system do it’s job to it’s full potential, without the psychoactive affect, or “high” associated with marijuana/THC.  The effects you feel when you take CBD Oil generally aren’t drastic, I’ve heard it described as “rounding out the edges” which I think is a great description of how my anxiety levels are when I take it.  As far as inflammation, when injury occurs, stress is high, or when our muscles are sore white blood cells flood the area which causes inflammation.  CBD oil basically gives those white blood cells a break to reduce the inflammation. (This of course is a huge over simplification, but it’s the quickest/easiest way to break it down without turning this blog into a book, check out the blog tagged earlier to learn more).

We like CW because it is manufactured in an FDA-certified facility with 3rd party-verified Good Manufacturing Practices to make sure that quality is high and THC levels remain below the 13 parts per million CW Isolate promises.

I could go on for days about CW/CBD Oil, Vitamin D & Light Therapy but hopefully this has given you enough to answer some questions and further encourage your own research!  I encourage you to ask questions and start supplementing if the weather has been dragging you down lately! Stay Warm Folks!

Why Water?

Why Water?

Why Water?

Everyone has heard the advice of “Drink eight glasses of water per day” in order to stay healthy and hydrated. We don’t need to go over that again. What we do need to think about is where water goes, how we acquire more, and why it is so important.

People don’t often think about all the ways that the body gets rid of water. There are the obvious modes of sweating, saliva, and our bathroom bodily functions, (to put it delicately), but we never stop to think about evaporation. Evaporation, seriously? And yes. Our skin being the porous layer that it is allows water to evaporate out of the body just to keep the internal systems at a normal temperature and functioning as they are meant to. The act of breathing even uses up the body’s water supply. So between just existing and eliminating wastes, the human bod eliminates A LOT of water each day. The amount of water it goes through is also effected by the climate, temperature, age, and all sorts of environmental factors that the average person, myself included, never thought about. Crazy…

When you feel thirsty after all that breathing, you could go for the obvious choice: a glass of water, which is good! Water is water and nothing will ever substitute a tall, cool drink of that clean crystal-clear. However, food contains a bunch of water, too.

Just as drinking more water instead of other liquids, such as sodas, energy drinks, juices, etc, all of which have a TON of sugar, eating water-laden foods will help the body lose excess fat by taking in more quality calories. Vegetables and fruits hold more water than the comfort foods of baked goods and sugary, creamy deliciousness. Not that these foods don’t have water, but fruits and vegetables have the added benefit of being lower in calories and fats. Water-rich foods also take longer for the body to digest, which makes a person feel fuller longer. In effect, there’s less snacking on the other stuff. Water is sneaky like that. It hides out in the health food and health-s you up, hard.

Eating water-rich foods and drinking more water greatly compliments and enhances an active lifestyle. Water keeps the body sweating, which cools down all the internal systems, from respiratory to digestive to nervous and everything in between, to keep the body functioning the way it should. Dehydration, the act of taking in less water than the body expels, causes muscle fatigue and can do even more damage to the organs since the body will try to over-allocate the finite resource of internal water. Which is why your coaches always tell you to drink water before, during, and after your workout.

Going a little bit deeper into detail, water keeps your kidneys healthy. And a happy kidney is a productive kidney. Kidneys are the waste removal organs of the body. The wastes that humans eliminate from the body are what the kidneys hunt down and kick out. This process removes the toxic matter from our organs, our blood, all of our tissues. Why did our mothers tell us to drink a lot of water when we were sick? Because water cleanses the system. Water cleans ALL. THE. THINGS. And the healthy kidneys, brought to you by water, evicts all that grime from the stuff you need.

Improved brain function, more youthful looking skin, and regular bodily functions are also benefits of drinking enough water. A decent gauge to go by: drink half your weight in ounces. So if you weigh 160 pounds, drink at least 80 ounces of water each day. Extra credit if you drink more.

Listen to your mother! Eat your fruits and vegetables! Drink your water!
In the name of science!