I will hug you

Guys, we did it! We covered all the Yamas and Niyamas. I hope you all learned something about your selves and have noticed changes in the way you think and act.

Just a quick refresher here…

1. Yamas (way we act towards others/the world)

Nonviolence

Truthfulneness

Nonstealing

Nonexcess

Nonposessiveness

2. Niyamas (ways we act within ourselves)

Purity

Contentment

Self-Discipline

Self-study

Surrender

Now I realize most of you aren’t going to remember these. Heck, I’m just grateful if you’re reading this blog post. And if you’re not going to remember them, you’re probably not going to attempt the path to pure enlightenment like the traditional Eastern Yogis. And that’s totally cool. But here’s something you can take away:

Mental illness is highly prevalent in our society. Mental illness is the root cause of violent attacks, the opioid epidemic, failed relationships, and countless other issues. Having a strong mind and a positive attitude can combat mental illness. Practicing the niyamas and yamas builds a strong mind. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, depression, or whatever else it might be, reflect on these principles and put them into action in your own life.

Likewise, even if you’re not struggling with mental health but you’re looking to take your athletic adventures to the next level, a strong mind will go a long way. The Games Athletes are not weak-minded individuals. Sports Psychology is a part of their training. In the recent Netflix release “A Decade of Fitness,” Katrin Davidsdottir talks about the concept of competing against herself. She must perform the best she can, regardless of anyone else. It’s something she and her coach, Ben Bergeron, discuss regularly.

In CrossFit, it’s hard not to compare. We write our scores side-by-side on the board and enter them on an app that ranks us. We see other’s more impressive lifts and think “I wish I could do that.” These are normal feelings. But use them to your advantage. Let those thoughts motivate you, not detroy you. If you find yourself feeling down, stop and think of 3 things you’re thankful for.

We have a great community at CrossFit Infiltrate. I’ve been here for 2.5 years and have gotten to know a lot of different people. I met my future husband and 2 girls who will be bridesmaids in that wedding. I love walking into the gym and knowing I’ll see a friendly face. I love knowing I can text anyone on a Friday night and say “What are you guys doing tonight?”

There’s something powerful about suffering next to someone else during a workout. My point is that there are plenty of great people here to support you. I know I speak for any of the Coaches when I say if you find yourself needing someone to talk to….someone to give you support….someone to hug you…..we’re here for you….Doesn’t have to be related to CrossFit.

*Disclaimer: Hugging Jared doesn’t mean he’s cleaned his beard in a while, proceed at your own risk*

It’s been a pleasure writing these posts.

Be gracious. Be kind. Don’t cheat. Do the work. Be the best version of yourself and love that and you’ll never have a problem.

*Mic drop*

Why Can’t You Be More Like Tia?

Yogic Principle: Surrender

Think about the last time you told someone you had a “bad day” or “one of those days.” What was it that made the day “bad?”

I thought about this myself and thought of last Monday. This is what made it “bad:”

1. Work related bs (coworkers, no respect for time, late to meetings because of it, etc)

2. Chick Fil-A was closed and I wanted nuggets

3. A lady yelled at me in the parking garage for parking “too close.” (Guys, I was between the lines).

4. Someone on Poshmark cancelled their order from me and it deleted the post and months of work.

Literally as I type this out I’m laughing at myself. None of these things are bad. I’m lucky to have a job that gives me independence, respect, and pays the bills. I have plenty of food at home. I’m lucky to have a car to drive and a parking pass. I sold the item on eBay earlier this week.

The truth is, what we consider “bad days” are when life doesn’t go as planned or as we wished. The best thing we can do about these bad days is surrender.

Surrender is releasing. Having expectations and fighting life creates tension and rigidity. By releasing, or relaxing, we can begin to act more skillfully, carrying less burden and tension.

CrossFit: Have you ever tried to workout when you were tense? Chances are, it didn’t go very well. Russ said to me a few weeks ago after the Burpee/Deadlift workout that he wishes he could feel more relaxed during workouts as he thinks he would move better and more like Jared. Russ is right. We’re more likely to move better, think faster, and lift heaver with a mind that is surrendered.

Surrender is engaging. Whitewater rafters use the raging waves to their advantage, going with the flow, but skillfully manipulating themselves downstream. Similarly, we must do the same in life. Fighting life and demanding that things go our way is a disastrous attitude which wreaks havoc in our minds.

CrossFit: The CrossFit games were great this year. I love that they were hosted in the Midwest and that there were some new faces on the podium (led by some familiar favorites). Games athletes don’t get the luxury of having all their WODs released ahead of time. They must do whatever is thrown at them and embrace it to have a shot at performing optimally.

Surrender is accepting. We can’t control life. Maybe you believe in a Higher Power, or maybe not. Regardless, you can’t argue that many things in life are out of your hands. Accept the things you cannot change. Address them as opportunities to learn, grow, and skillfully move through life.

CrossFit: There are countless stories of CrossFit Games athletes who overcame bad finishes. Katrin failed to qualify in 2015. Tia barely lost in 2016. Annie suffered heat stroke in 2015 and a mediocre finish in 2016. Mat Fraser lost to Ben Smith in 2015. They are Games athletes not only because of their physical strength, but their mental strength. They have staying power. They practice acceptance and surrender. All these athletes came back and kicked ass.

Practice surrendering. Practice acceptance. Be the best version of yourself.

Oh baby, you should go and love yourself.

Yogic Principle: Self-Study

First of all, I promise not to reference Justin Bieber ever again.

Secondly, who are you?

But seriously. WHO ARE YOU?!

Take a minute to think about it. If I came up to you and asked “Who is Alexa?” or “Who is JJ,” how would you answer? (Insert your name in place of theirs).

Most of us would respond with something like “I’m an architect who lives in Indy.” Or “I’m a student and a new wife.” But your job, your home, your role within your family, etc. do not define you. Your belief system and your experiences do.

Practicing self-study increases your awareness and helps you learn to love and accept yourself. The rewards are endless—happiness, satisfaction, and reciprocity of love and affection. Here’s some tips:

1. Notice how you treat others. Notice what others do that upsets you. Is the problem with them? Or could it be with you? In psychology, projection is the idea that you see in others what is actually within you. For example, pretend Natalie (who is a sweetheart) is very boastful after work-outs. She takes her shirt off to show us her muscles, tells everyone how hard the WOD is, & tells everyone how she’s going to the Games next year. Then one day she works out with Betsy and Betsy destroys her in double unders (cuz she’s freaky fast #JimmyJohnstatus), so Natalie starts telling everyone that Betsy is a show-off. Natalie is projecting herself onto Betsy. It is common for jealousy and discomfort to trigger projection.

2. Stop and ask: Why do you feel this way? When something upsets you, get to the root cause. This can take practice. If you’re like me, first you need time for the emotional outburst to resolve…sometimes I get a little fired up (shrug emoji). A former coach once said to me after I hurt my knee, “This may be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. You can stop relying on your legs.” I was immediately offended and complained to Zane in the privacy of my living room. The root cause was not that it was rude. The root cause was that it was true and that it implied that I wasn’t well-rounded. Get to the root cause and address it.

Self-Study is about knowing yourself and also about loving all facets of who you are, even the parts you’re not proud of. Study yourself and don’t run from what you find. Embrace the glorious Justin Bieber-loving mess that you are.

As always, love yourself and others. And squats. Always love squats.

Put the Donut Down!

Yogic Principle: Self-Discipline

The practice of self-discipline is probably the hardest yogic principle to practice (in my opinion). It requires courage, persistence, saying no to delicious creme filled baked goods, and trust….all in combination to get us to where we want to be. We practice self-discipline daily, we use it as a “staying power,” and we use to it make hard decisions. I shall elaborate below. Anyone else want a donut now?

Daily Basis: Ya’ll know you should eat your veggies, go to bed at a reasonable hour, go to the gym, and mind your Ps and Qs. Do you always? These are tasks that come up everyday and we must practice self-discipline to provide our minds and bodies with what they need to prosper. The consistency of self-discipline over time will give us some great results.

CrossFit: Johnnie came back from the far East just before the Open began. I remember watching her do 17.4 against Clara and she had a hard time with the deadlifts of 155# and was pretty frustrated afterwards. If you’ve seen Johnnie lately, you know how self-discipline in her diet and fitness regimen has made some incredible changes. Last week I watched her snatch only 10# less than that damn deadlift. Hard work, diligence, and self-discipline pays off.

Staying Power: “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” Making lemonade out of lemons isn’t an easy path, but we’ve all heard stories of those people who had something terrible happen to them, but stuck with it, and came out fine, if not grateful. Self-discipline is the ability to stay in the unknown and unpleasantness rather than run in fear. Team USA Weightlifter Jessica Lucera posted a while back that “injuries are your body’s way of making you address its weaknesses.” Home girl has some staying power. Injuries are the perfect example to work on something that you’ve ignored a little too long.

CrossFit: Jared and I did a Parallette program after my first knee surgery. This was beneficial in several ways. 1. It kept me from going crazy by giving me something to do. 2. I can actually do more than like 2 push ups in a row now. 3. I realized what a freak Jared is for being able to flip himself upside down on those things. Regardless, lemonade ya’ll. #beyonce

Decision-Making: Self-discipline can be practiced through decision -making. I SAID PUT THAT DONUT DOWN! It can also be practiced in decisions that have a lot more uncertainty and more on the line than chocolate sprinkles. Decisions to leave a relationship, for example, are not easy ones to make. We practice self-discipline by staying true to ourselves and what we believe and by making those tough decisions.

Go forth and be disciplined little yogis. Until next time…

Don’t Worry, Be Content

Yogic Principle: Contentment

When _____ happens, then I’ll be happy.

If only I could/had ________, then my life would be better.

Fill in the above blanks with what you think about. You know you’ve done it. When _____ happens, then I’ll be happy (lose weight, gain muscle, get a new job, meet Mr. Right, etc).

CrossFit Style: If only I could_______, then I would a better athlete (do pull-ups, snatch more than X pounds, string together muscle ups, beat Jared at the Fish Game, etc).

Contentment is about being happy where you are, no matter where that is. There’s a Chinese Proverb that says “people in the West are always getting ready.” When we’re in high school we worry about college. When we’re in college we worry about jobs and finding significant others. When we find significant others we worry about babies and houses. Find satisfaction in the now.

CrossFit: Being content isn’t about settling. Just because you can’t do a (insert something here) currently doesn’t mean you should give up and say “Sorry Jared I’m not trying anymore because Becca said to be content.” It’s about finding contentment IN THAT MOMENT…In the moment you realize you can’t do it….In the moment they pop up in The Open…..In the moment you’re in a class surrounded by folks who can do it. Know that you have other things to offer, and be grateful with your progress and your training. Gratitude for what you have is a great way to practice contentment.

Our lives are shaped by “seeking and avoiding.” We seek out things we like and avoid things we dislike. Duh, so basic and yet so true. From food to our career choices, we use a lot of time and energy for this process. The practice of contentment invites us to take life as it comes. This doesn’t mean you should avoid decisions or starting flipping coins. It means to be content in the absence of pleasures and abundance of failures. How do you handle life when it shits on you?

CrossFit: A few years back when we were still posting workouts on the blog, Jared did a week of “surprise workouts.” The intention was so people would stop picking and choosing which workouts they did and which ones they got to avoid. This was also a lesson in contentment. Take life and workouts as they come even if it’s not your forte or something you dislike. A little discomfort is good for you.

Finally, be the boss of your own life and emotions. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “no one makes you feel inferior without your consent.” Boom. Mic drop. If you’ve felt unappreciated, inadequate, left out, or hurt, you’re giving all your power away to the person who acted inappropriately. Emotions may be reactive and difficult to control. Contentment invites us to not dwell on those emotions. Don’t let the rain stop your sunshine.

CrossFit: So you had a bad day. You couldn’t even hit your PR. You were 30 seconds slower than your last time. Don’t dwell. Today’s a great day to keep training. You’ll do better next time.

Supplementation Part 2

Ok guys, I’ve had two shots of espresso with two more on the way. I thought I might as well let you guys in on part 2 of the supplements that work. Ironically, espresso leads me into the first one: caffeine.

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug IN THE WORLD! It is legal and unregulated in most parts of the world and naturally produced in many plants, hence the coffee bean reference. Caffeine blocks receptors in the central nervous system that would otherwise cause drowsiness and stimulates various portions of the autonomic nervous system. These two effects result in making you feel like you can accomplish anything that day and then running to the bathroom thirty minutes later.

Caffeine typically is one of the main ingredients in many pre-workouts. This is due to its effect of increasing performance in many areas. Caffeine has been shown to improve anaerobic capacity (short, intense exercise= “Fran”), power output, aerobic capacity (longer workouts= 5k run), reaction time, rate of perceived exertion, wakefulness, and many other factors. In fact, many pre-workouts will advertise a laundry list of proprietary blends, natural herbs, and groundbreaking new “performance enhancing supplements’, only to pack it full of caffeine to make the user feel as if everything is working. This is also very common in fat burning/ weight loss supplements. There is no doubt caffeine can be very beneficial, but must be used with caution. As mentioned early, caffeine can stimulate portions of the autonomic nervous system leading to increased heart rate, anxiety, and colonic emptying. Those with heart problems or high blood pressure should use caution when taking caffeine. These effects are dependent on the tolerance of the user as well. Prolonged use of caffeine can build up a tolerance, leading to a need for increased dosage to experience the effects. Caffeine can also have devastating effects on sleep. For this reason, I recommend caffeine intake to be limited to the mornings and early afternoons, but everyone will have different limits.

Fish oil is the second supplement that works. The main factor in this is the omega 3 fatty acid content. There are many oils and seeds that contain high doses of omega 3 fatty acids, but fish oil is the most common. When considering fish oil, we are mainly concerned with the amount of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are typically found in fish, animal products, and seeds. However, the typical diet nowadays contains a high amount of omega 6 fatty acids (think of them as the evil step-child). The ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s can have a profound impact on the body. Ideally, there should be a ratio of 1:1, but with the increased levels of omega 6s in the diet, omega 3 typically must be supplemented to equalize the ratio. This 1:1 ratio can have several effects including lowering blood pressure, lipid levels, risk for plaque buildup, risk of diabtes, triglycerides, and inflammation levels. For this reason, I recommend everyone take some omega 3 supplement, whether you are focused on performance or not. It is important to look at EPA+DHA quantity when deciding which supplement and how much to use. The recommended daily dosage ranges from 1-6g, with 2-4 being the most common. Spreading the dosage out through the day can help minimize any fishy burp taste.

The next supplement I recommend is vitamin D. I will start off by stating there has been a lot of speculation lately about the proper measurement of vitamin D in the body so I will keep this one brief. Vitamin D is made naturally in the body using sunlight and cholesterol, and it also found in many foods. There are many forms of vitamin D, but the one we will focus on is vitamin D3, as it is the most useful. While many people are not deficient in vitamin D, they do not have optimal levels. Vitamin D has been associated with increased cognition, immune health, bone health, testosterone levels, and decreased risk for various diseases. Due to its overall effect of greater wellbeing, vitamin D supplementation is recommended for almost everyone. The minimal dose is 2,000IU per day, while the maximum is set at 4,000IU per day.

I am only going to mention the last supplements. Protein and carbohydrate supplementation have proven beneficial performance effects, but, for many people, should not be the focus. Protein and carbs should be accounted for with whole foods in the diet before supplementing them should be considered. Many more gains will be seen if the diet is perfected first. However, those that have dialed in their macronutrient levels can see enhanced performance and recovery by using protein and carbohydrates at the appropriate times. I will dive into this topic in the coming weeks if there is interest.

So there you have it. I have laid out a list of supplements that will help stay healthy and increase your performance. This list is by no means all inclusive, but contains the products with the most time and research backing them. Next week I will dive into some of the commonly used supplements that do not work or have common misconceptions. As always, feel free to comment and ask questions. Do your own research and let me know if there is a topic you would like me to address. Until next week, stay hungry my friends.

FrossCit!

Hey, it’s Clara, with a final reminder that FrossCit is on Aug. 5th and that Sat. 7/29 is the last day to register.

Also- I’m looking for a volunteer judge, since one of my judges can no longer be there. If you’re interested and able to help out, email me at clara.clemens@gmail.com. It would be much appreciated.

It should be a fun day filled with mimosas, beer, and sweat!

Want to Try Hot Yoga?

Well, you’re in luck. I’m a yoga teacher. And we have a hot garage.
Becca + Garage = Hot Yoga.

But seriously, this will be a fun event and a great way to get an even deeper stretch. Never done yoga or hot yoga? Don’t worry! Because of the hot nature of the room, our focus will be on holding the poses for a deep stretch rather than lots of abrupt movements, extensive flows, and getting up and down off the mat.

Join us MONDAY, JULY 31st at 7PM for our first ever HOT YOGA session.

Bring a large towel and plenty of water! Check on this link for other advice:

https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/tips-for-hot-yoga

Please read this link for a detailed and dramatic depiction of hot yoga if you’re bored and like to laugh:

https://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sea/2597736393.html