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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!

W.H.O.O.P.I.E Goal Setting

W.H.O.O.P.I.E Goal Setting

I was going through my lists of podcast the other day and came across one that really hit home. Ben Bergeron in “Chasing Excellence” was talking about an awesome way to set goals called WHOOPIE.  Since we have been talking a lot about goals this January I thought I would share this one as well.

Wishing and Hoping

The W and the H stand for wishing and hoping.  Science shows that when you wish for things and hope for things your brain gets excited. Sharing your wishes and hopes brings the brain to a whole other level of excited.  So when you hanging out with all your friends next week and you tell them “I’m going to deadlift twice my body weight this year,” you usually leave that party pretty pumped.  The down side, most people stop there, don’t be most people!

**Studies also show that writing down your goal gives you a Much higher chance of crushing that goal, so go ahead write it down, I’ll wait.

Outcome

So now that you’ve got that written down, let’s move on the O.  The first O is Outcome, basically looking at the big picture and what your results or “end goal” will be.  This part is really exciting too.  For example if your end goal is to lose weight it’s fun to think about how awesome you’ll be looking during lake season or how much stronger you’ll be in the gym. A lot of people make it to this step too as it’s still pretty exciting.

Obstacles 

The next O stands for Obstacles.  It’s important to take into account what type of obstacles will get in your way as your on the road to crushing your goals.  I know for me, in the past, setting nutrition goals and a crazy week could derail the whole thing.  I didn’t have a plan for when Sunday meal prep didn’t happen. I would find myself eating out more, grabbing less than optimal food and saying well guess that goals done. However, now with a goal of eating 80-20 I know I can afford a few meals eating out and still make the rest of the week awesome.  I can move Sunday meal prep to Wednesday night and still have make enough healthy food to keep me on track.

Not planning for obstacles is where most people get tripped up and their path to crushing their goals is cut short, it’s gone, done, finished.  Don’t be that person!

Planning & Processing 

The P has duel meaning in Planning and Processing.  Having a plan can make all the difference in the world.  For my nutrition goal it was to meal prep breakfast and lunch on Sunday’s, if that failed use Wednesday nights as a sub.  Setting a plan for your “how to” but also plan for those obstacles. You make it here you’re doing awesome and about to crush your goals.

“I am the type of person that” 

The I is a statement piece in WHOOPIE that stands for “I am the type of person that,” this is a clutch part of the process.

I am the type of person who…
meal preps on Sunday
goes to the gym even at -11
wakes up early to journal and meditate

It can be anything relevant to you goal and becomes part of who you are.  It’s something people expect from you.  When I go home I always plan at least one or two visits to the local CrossFit gym, my family expects it from me, it’s who I am.

Execute

The final letter E stands for Execute.  You have an awesome plan, you have thought through your obstacles and set your intentions it’s time to put your plan into action.  Make it happen!  Reach our Goal!!

Routine is not the Enemy

Routine is not the Enemy

Routine is not the Enemy

Although it can feel like we are stuck in a rut sometimes, having a routine (or lack of routine) can have a big impact on our lives. If you know me, you know that I have a set of things that I need to accomplish in a day, otherwise you could call me “Mr. Grouchy Grouch!” Getting enough sleep, eating enough, getting my workouts in, and several other non- gym related tasks are certainly on that list. Having a routine helps me get those things done each day.

Make a plan!

The key to any good lifestyle change is to have a plan. When I say make a plan I don’t mean, “I plan to get my ‘poop in a group.’” That doesn’t help you at all. I really mean make a plan. One with a clearly defined goal, and the steps you will take to get there. It can also be extremely helpful to visualize what your life will look like when you accomplish it. This helps you remember why you set the goal in the first place and will hold you accountable to putting that plan into action. Once you have the plan, all you have to do is put it into action. If you would like to start getting up at a certain time each day you could just set an alarm and hope for the best. In the long run you will be much more successful if you set yourself up to BE SUCCESSFUL. If you want to add to your routine getting up earlier, it really starts with going to bed earlier.  Removing barriers to success leads to… You guessed it. Success. Take your plan and go back as far as you need, remove all the barriers, and then you’ll be left with a clear path to success.

Success is a Habit

Once you learn to remove the barriers for success, you become successful all the time. It becomes a habit, and habits become routine. By waking up on time you remove a barrier for the next thing you need to do in your day. This is a domino effect. It keeps going forever. You wake up on time. Then you have breakfast on time. If you have breakfast on time you have plenty of time to get to work. If you get to work on time you get done with work on time. If you finish work on time you get to the gym on time. Most importantly of all if you get to the gym on time you don’t have to play catch-up by warming up with extra burpees. (Burpees are a great full body warm-up by the way!) It is easy to see how this cycle can keep going on and on! This is what the saying “success leads to more success.” Games athletes don’t keep going back to the games because they made it there once, they go year after year because they routinely do the things needed to get them there.

What should be in my routine?

The simple answer is whatever you need to do to be successful. That also includes all the steps to achieving those little successes. All of us need to drink enough water, so it is natural to add that to our list. We make it routine by constantly doing the things that allow us to drink enough water, and then by drinking enough water, I accomplish this task by filling up my water bottle between every class and then drinking it in class. It can really be that simple.

Routine is NOT the enemy!

I’m not saying that you need to regiment your entire life so that you only do the same things in the same order each day. Or that you should eat the same meals each week. All I’m saying is that a little bit of structure can make your day a whole lot easier. People who have consistently good nutrition habits either have the time to cook several healthy meals each day, or they take the time to cook them once or twice a week and then add it into their routine to grab a container before they leave in the morning. Those little steps that are a part of your daily routine can make a huge difference in helping you accomplish any goal, big or small!