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
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.
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 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!
Courtney Shoemaker is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Icehouse and Flux, and in charge of the behind the scenes juggling to keep the Icehouse ship sailing smoothly. She is passionate about fitness and identifies as a CrossFitter, Weightlifter, Yogi, Skydiver & overall Shenaniganer.
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!
Emily is the head Flux Coach, and our resident Icehouse Dottir. When Emily isn’t coaching Flux, she is working on elevating her own fitness & yoga game, sketching some badass tattoos for friends, or getting ink done herself.
Nutrition is the foundation of performance inside and outside the gym. It fuels your training and your life. Here at Icehouse we encourage taking the whole foods approach to nutrition that sounds a lot like, “eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar” ~ Greg Glassman, or the abbreviated version, “eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” ~ Ben Bergeron.(more…)
Sarah Skedsvold is a coach at CrossFit Icehouse. She’s committed to turning workouts into play and bolstering CrossFit Icehouse’s charge to “Build Everyday Athletes”. In her spare time she is in a constant search the absolutely perfect personal planner and calendar.
It can be really difficult to keep your fitness goals on track when it seems like no one understands the commitment you made to yourself to make a change. Aside from the people in our community at Icehouse, who are already on their own fitness journey and share your goals, there are family members, friends, and even co-workers, who do not. The people around you generally don’t want to derail your wellness train. Think about how it looks from their perspective. Something as simple as reducing the amount of sugar we consume can look like eliminating a whole list of foods. Making time for the gym could mean no longer watching as much TV with your significant other. These changes can look drastic to others. (more…)
Jordan Halvorson is a coach at Crossfit Icehouse who believes that the scientific principles of strength training and the mindset behind personal growth can be applied to everyone to make their lives better. He is also a barbell addict.
Sugar is everywhere these days. It’s not just in your common violators like ice cream or pop. It’s also in foods labeled as “health foods”, such as protein bars, smoothies, sports drinks, and basically any item labeled as low fat. So why is this a problem? Well, if you have been through our 6-Week Challenge you have probably heard why sugar is causing problems, so in case you have forgotten or need a refresher, this is for you. (more…)
The holiday season is a great time to catch up with family and friends, reflect on the past year and enjoy some holiday foods. This can also be a stressful time of year for those striving to eat healthy because of all the big holiday meals. Traveling and making good food choices can be exceptionally difficult. I hope to ease some of that stress by giving you some ideas for making healthy decisions on road trips and while traveling on airlines.
Have a Plan
The most important step to eating healthy while traveling is having a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you will easily be persuaded by unhealthy food options. Having a plan ensures that you have a decision made before temptation arises. A good plan starts by knowing how much time you will have to eat at each meal, and bringing snacks to cover unforeseen delays or flat tires.
When traveling through the airlines, good foods to have on hand are bags of mixed nuts, fruit, veggies, protein powder, RX Bars and potentially some hard-boiled eggs (though your neighbor might not like this idea). If you plan to eat at the airport, the best option is somewhere with a salad. Starbucks is everywhere and offers a good salad option. You can request additional protein and maybe sub the salad dressing for olive oil. If salad is not your thing, Starbucks also has pure protein packed options. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. Your body will thank you.
On the Road
For traveling on the road, a cooler is your best friend. Foods that work well in a cooler are eggs, avocados, deli meats, guacamole, salad greens and dressings like lemon juice, olive or avocado oil and mustard. Non-cooler options are fruits and veggies, nut butter, canned or packaged tuna and mixed nuts.
If you find yourself at a hotel, try to book a room with a mini fridge. Knowing you will have a fridge is a great opportunity to stop at a local grocery store and stock up on the foods listed above. A grocery store is a great substitute for a restaurant. Now days, most grocery stores have a deli where you can get some fresh meats and denser carbs like sweet potatoes or rice. Make a quick stop at the fruit and veggie isles and you have a solid meal! Also, keep your eye out for a salad bar, as these are becoming more popular.
Don’t Stress About It
Finally, don’t make eating healthy a huge stressor during your travels. If fast food is your ONLY option, order a cheeseburger and fries. After that meal, plan out your next meal to set up a healthier option. Remember: have a plan, stick to it, and enjoy the holiday season.