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The B Word

The B Word

I’m just so BUSY!  I’m too BUSY!
Yeah…we all are.
Have you ever caught yourself responding the the “Hey how are you?” with “Good, but so busy!”  or just “Really busy”?  ?‍♀️Then following up by a conversation complaining with all of the things that are overwhelming you, and maybe even apologizing for all of the things you haven’t gotten to yet, or for not making those plans you were going to months ago? (I know I’ve been guilty of this!)
This is even more prevalent during the holiday season when you throw in holiday parties, events, shopping, decorating and all of those other little things that we add to our already overwhelmed “busy” selves.
BUSY is a Bad Word
We use the B word to justify our actions and feelings, but in all reality it is just a result of poor time management. If you find yourself complaining about being too B-Word to people who are important to you, then you need to apply some time management tricks to your schedule, not just your work schedule but to EVERYTHING you add to your plate.
I know this is easier said that done, so here are a few tips to get started.
Step 1: Remove the B-Word from your Vocabulary
For some reason, we wear the B-Word like a badge of honor.  We feel better for being busy, even if it’s not at all productive.  We feel super important that so many things are requiring our attention, so dropping a few balls is totally fine because at least you have all those extra balls your were juggling!  If one of your friends or family members is one of those dropped balls, it doesn’t feel so good…. so stop hiding behind that B-Word!
Step 2: Time Block Weekly
This topic comes up in our blogs over and over and over again because it is so important to being successful at anything we do.  Basic time management can start with a once a week time blocking session.  Pick a time of the week where you sit down for 20-30 min to plan out your entire week.  If you plan to do it, write it down or enter it into your calendar app (I’m a big fan of google calendar personally). As you say yes to more things make sure to add them in to the calendar.  If you said you’d bake cookies for your kids class, block the time to do it so you can see what you had to displace (if anything) to make it happen. I schedule everything from Meal prep, reading, workouts, eating, shopping, project work (I name the project I will be working on at that time so I don’t forget or get distracted), commuting, tv watching, and even downtime.  Once it is in my calendar it is all treated as an appointment, even if it is an appointment with myself.
Step 3: Prioritize
Once you have everything in your calendar, you may notice that you do not have enough hours in the day to get it all done.  Here is where we have to have those tough conversations with ourselves about what is truly important to us.  Be HONEST & REALISTIC with your commitments.  Don’t stack 2 tasks/appointments on top of each other in your calendar, odds are neither gets done that way.  Workouts/Wellness seem to be the first things that get the cut from calendars (which we for obvious reasons think is problematic with us being a gym and all ?).
When you see that you do not have time for whatever it is you need to add, simply

say to yourself out loud “I will not insert activity herebecause it is not a priority to me.” Now sit with that and see how it feels. If you feel ok about it, cool maybe you didn’t need it in your schedule to begin with!  If saying that feels crappy and you know you need to do that in order to feel better, take care of yourself, or whatever other reason then you will need to find a space for it in your calendar, which might mean displacing something else.  Maybe it was your 4 workouts a week, you said “I will not workout this week because it is not a priority” and that didn’t sit well.  Ok then where are 4 hours you can displace?  Do you need to go to that Happy Hour?  Do you need to make that Target run? Do you need to watch show on netflix? When you find items that really don’t serve you at all, take them out of the schedule!
Pro Tip: Most of us can find a few free hours if we take out the Netflix and Social Media Mindless Scrolling out of our days.  
So there you have the first steps to using your time more efficiently, and feeling good about how you spend your time.  Feel productive is so much more satisfying that just feeling B-Word!
So go ahead and apply these tips and let us know how it goes! And when Aunt Melicent asks how you are doing, you can say “I’ve had a lot of exciting things going on this year, let me tell you about on or two of them…”
Look at that! You are not to B-Word for meaningful conversation!
5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

When you think about meal prepping does it seem like some daunting, time consuming task that you HAVE to do? It definitely used to be that way for me. I felt like I needed to prep something different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. That, as you can imagine, led to a lot of money wasted on ingredients and a lot of extra food that sometimes went to waste. I now have a pretty tight budget when it comes to groceries because it can be so easy to go overboard. Developing a simple meal prep routine has really helped me stay on budget each month, eat healthy, and save time during the work week.

Here are my top tips for keeping meal prep simple:

  1. Make a plan for the entire week. Figure out your schedule with work, workouts, and extra curriculars and see where you can most benefit from meals that are already prepped. Hitting up the 6:40 PM class consistently? Definitely meal prep your dinners, so that by the time you get home all you need to do is reheat your food.
  2. Batch cook! Prep things like protein and starches in bulk. Add a bunch of chicken to a sheet pan or crock pot and cook enough servings for the entire week. Same with your starches– sweet potatoes, rice, spaghetti squash, etc. These generally take longer to cook and reheat fairly well, so make them ahead of the week to save time.
  3. Use convenience appliances like a crock pot or instant pot. During your weekend prep you can create entire meals to store in the freezer, then during the week add the meal to your crock pot and let it cook all day. Easy for family dinner nights! Pinterest has A TON of freezer meal ideas.
  4. Plan for meals that you know you will be eating out. Make meals out special! Spend your time and money wisely and choose places that serve quality food. Rather than grabbing fast food on your lunch break or on your way home from the gym (gasp).
  5. Choose a method that work for you. Do enjoy cooking dinner for yourself or your family each night? Great! When you do your weekend prepping make a plan for the week ahead and get all the ingredients you need. You can prepare ingredients like washing and chopping vegetables and thawing out protein. Everything will be ready to go each night when you make dinner. Do you know for a fact that you will not cook during the week? Then follow step 1!

I hope this helps! Establishing a healthy meal prep, or nutrition in general for that matter, routine takes some trial and error. You cannot know what will work best for you until you try out different things. You can only benefit from being organized!

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.

 

Top 5 Massage Benefits for Athletes

Top 5 Massage Benefits for Athletes

Reblog from our resident Massage Therapist, Nancy “Shots” Stenger from Rest Day Massage.

Massage and recovery go hand in hand. It doesn’t take a massage therapist to know that stretching sore muscles is going to help them feel better.

Actually, massage is instinctual.

Think of the times you shook out your hands before jumping back up on the pull-up bar or grabbed your quads because they were on fire after rowing. It’s hardwired in us to get blood flow back and to dull the senses in an area of pain, and that’s essentially what massage is.

Ok, if it was really that simple, then I wouldn’t have a job. But the point is, our bodies naturally crave massage to feel better.

As athletes, we are constantly pushing our bodies, and that can take a toll on our muscles. Below are the top 5 ways massage can help you become a better athlete.

1. Accelerates recovery

Massage increases blood flow both locally and system-wide.

That increased blood flow flushes out metabolic waste from the muscles (aka the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel like they are on fire). It also brings in nutrients and oxygen back into the muscles to help them regenerate torn muscle tissue and return back to their normal balance so you can hit the workout just as hard the next day.

Added bonus: The increased blood flow also helps the body circulate lymph, which is a fluid that helps destroy pathogens in the body. This allows you to fight off sickness quicker or helps you avoid it altogether.

2. Reduces the risk of injury

Dysfunction causes injury. Let me repeat that, DYSFUNCTION CAUSES INJURY.

When our bodies are 100% balanced, nothing short of a catastrophic event would cause tears, sprains, or strains. Unfortunately, no human is free from dysfunction. So what do I mean by that?

3. Restores mobility and flexibility

Duh. Seems like a no brainer. Stretching muscles promotes mobility and flexibility, but with the help of a licensed massage therapist, you can make sure you are hitting the stretches that your body REALLY needs and make sure that you are doing them properly.

4. Increases body awareness

Remember when you first started CrossFit and you were sore in areas that you never knew were possible? It’s like that with massage as well.

During a massage, you become more aware of muscle groups. Tight muscles are loosened up, and your body becomes aware of aches, pains, or even injuries that it just wasn’t concerned about at the time.

A massage is also an opportunity for a professional to look at and feel your muscle tissue. Between my BA in Biology and my certificate in Massage Therapy, I’ve studied anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology. I’ve been trained on how the human body is supposed to work as well as seeing when something isn’t quite right.

It was actually on a massage table when I learned about my hamstring imbalance. My right hamstring is much more developed than my left, and my massage therapist pointed it out to me.

I notice it all the time now! My right heel pops up first when I squat, my right leg tightens up faster on runs, and I put my weight on my right foot when I’m standing still. I notice it ALL THE TIME!

Remember what I said before, dysfunction causes injury, so I’ve incorporated more exercises to strengthen my left hamstring muscles. I’m started to feel more balanced, my lifts seem smoother, and I’ve potentially lessened my chance for injury. Boom!

5. Promotes healthy tissue growth

Like I said before, massage increases blood flow to the area which starts the repair process. But repairing muscle, and repairing muscle correctly aren’t the same thing.

Massage helps lay down tissue in the correct muscle fiber direction. This helps ensure that the muscle is moving how it was designed to. It also helps break up scar tissue and fascial restrictions that inhibit proper muscle movement.

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween is just the beginning of all of the treats that accompany the holiday season. It’s so easy to grab a handful of candy when it’s sitting in excess around the house. Here is a fun game to play with your kids to get rid of all the extra Halloween candy. It’ll benefit you AND them!

Ghouls, Goblins, and Monsters all sweep the streets on the last night of October. You prep your kiddos to be scary, cute, fun and cool for a chance to stay up late and get candy! Halloween is the one night you get to be someone (or something) else, walk alongside people in your community, subject yourself to a haunted house or two, and take candy from neighbors.

While there are so many positive sides to trick or treating, there is one major negative side. The CANDY!  In all its glory and yumminess, candy is not an ideal part of a well-balanced diet! It can cause hyperactivity, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and so much more. So how can you alleviate the burden of such a monumental part of Halloween?

Introduce the Switch Witch!

The Switch Witch is a fun and exciting way to get rid of all the excess candy. After a fun night of Trick-Or-Treating, have your kids choose the top 5-10 pieces of candy that they want to keep and then put the rest outside of their bedroom door when they go to sleep.Why would they do that you ask? Here’s more on the Switch Witch:

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Not sure what to do with all of the excess Halloween candy? We are donating to Operation Gratitude this year. It is an organization that sends donated Halloween candy to our troops overseas. We will be collecting excess candy for donation through Monday, November 4th to send out on Wednesday the 6th! Drop your candy off at Icehouse and we will take care of the rest. 🙂

 

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.”