Monthly Archives: July 2017

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

Purity Promise 2.0 (not to be confused with the Purity Promise you signed in middle school)

Yogic Principle: Purity.

So far we’ve discussed the 5 ethical principles of yoga (aka the Yamas). If we’re putting all these into practice we should begin to feel different–more relaxed, lighter, finding enjoyment in daily activities, etc. If you find yourself harboring feelings of jealousy, anger, resentment, frustration….have no fear. This is a journey. Continue to work.

Today we move on and discuss the Niyamas, ways in which we act within ourselves. First up, Purity.

Purity in the body: I hear people throw the word “toxins” around like it’s going out of style. What is a toxin? Free radicals? Carcinogens? Face cream? Diet coke? A toxin is anything that causes harm to our body. Personally, I don’t get caught up in the details of “chemicals” on my face when there are bigger toxins at play. I would much rather have a patient come off their blood pressure/diabetes medications because they “cleansed” their bodies with diet and physical exercise rather than refuse to use shampoo with the word “glycol” in it. More bang for your buck. (not to mention the whole evidenced-based thing) See my point?

CrossFit: CrossFit detoxifies the body through physical exercise. Kudos to all the 6 week challenge folks. I’ve heard there’s been some great results.

Purity of the mind: We’re all human and we do shitty things. (also anyone see the irony of me discussing purity while randomly cursing?) Purity comes into play when we can admit what a**holes we are. Whether you confess to your friends, your Instagram account, or a journal, confession can be a great way to detoxify your mind and move on.

CrossFit: No one cares what your score was, everyone cares if you cheated. Be pure and don’t cheat. If you accidentally miscount, you’re human (math is hard!). Clear your mind through confession (even if just to your bestie) and move on. Don’t forget that even if you don’t miscount, crappy reps are a form of impurity (squat below parallel son!).

Purity of space: Clutter is the worst for me. I can barely concentrate on a task without a clean space. Zane knows I can’t handle his “Zane piles” of magazines, scribbles of work-related notes, and Hindu print outs (he’s taking a class currently). I often tell him “everything has a place.” (And if it doesn’t, I’ll go to the Container Store and find it one).

CrossFit: Have you ever walked into the gym and thought wtf happened here? Handprints everywhere, KB/DB’s in the middle of the room, rope fragments laying everywhere? It’s a rare thing but it’s distracting when it happens. Why is it rare? Because Jared or someone he’s hired are cleaning up after us. Thank them for what they do to de-clutter our space so we can practice purity.

Purity of the moment: Have you ever had to re-read the same page of a book over and over because you didn’t actually pay attention to it? Well then you weren’t present. Have you ever had a friend complain to you about their problems and your immediate response is to TELL them what to do. Well then you weren’t practicing purity by being in the moment. Purity is about leaving your expectations and what you “wish” would happen at the door. Face reality and what’s before you.

CrossFit: So I sprained my ankle like whoa last weekend. I’ve never felt that much pain in my life and #uglycried like it was my job. The tears dried up after some ice and ibuprofen, but I’lll be honest…Sunday was filled with some “poor me” tears. Poor me for having to use those damn crutches. Poor me for not being able to workout, something I love. Poor me for having a torn meniscus and a busted ankle. But “wishing” things away isn’t living in the present. It’s not being at peace and being pure. There’s a lot to be said for the power of positivity. I’ll heel up soon (pun intended) and continue #armdayerrday

Stay positive ya’ll. Be pure.

Make like Frozen and Let It Go

Yogic Principle: Non-possessiveness

(Synonyms: non-attachment or non-coveting)

What we possess begins to possess us. That sounds super wise, but I stole it from a book. And it’s true. What things in your life are requiring most of your attention and energy? What’s eating you, Gilbert Grape?

1. Negativity: It could be something that is haunting you—a bad relationship, poor family dynamics, previous life choices that had real consequences, etc. Non-possessiveness invites us to ask why we cling to such things? Do they serve us? Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it and LET IT GO!

2. It could be something that used to be positive—weight loss, getting promotions, compliments in general. Things that give us attention. Sure compliments are fine, but we all know someone who needs constant attention, compliments, or reassurance. That person is probably struggling with possessiveness. LET GO of the need for positive reinforcement. Know that you are enough.

Shall we apply to CrossFit?

1. Gotta love the concept of the Benchmark WODs. It makes perfect sense….it’s great to be able to retest yourself. Except if you’re someone who struggles with the ability to LET IT GO. For example, let’s say Megan had a horrible experience doing DT. So every time she sees the workout is DT she gets nervous, considers skipping class, and wonders if she can even complete it. Megan needs to LET IT GO. (Note: Megan is actually extremely great at DT in case you’ve never seen her throw that bar around).

2. The other day I had the pleasure of cheering on and recording Brooks PR his Clean & Jerk. I think I was more excited than he was. Sure, he told his Bro, Griffin, but he didn’t tell everyone who walked in the gym over and over. Brooks doesn’t need that. He doesn’t cling to (or possess) attention in order to feel good about himself.

For the next few days let’s practice non-possessiveness. How do we do it?

Trust. Generosity.

Trust that you’ll be ok once you LET GO of those things that aren’t serving a purpose in your life. Like a trapeze artist, sometimes you gotta LET GO before you can catch something new.

Be generous. Physical goods cause clutter. What possessions do you really need? Are there people who need it more than you? Attention doesn’t serve you. Stop and consider if there are there people who need the attention and the reassurance more than you.

For the next yogic principle and to be a better human, come to class on Monday at 7pm!

Supplement Q&A

I have gotten a few questions over my last post concerning supplements. I love that people are taking the time to read these posts and take an interest in it enough to become curious. Please keep asking questions. You can write comments on the post, ask me in person, or send me an email. If there are enough questions, I will make a post like this one to address them. Otherwise I may just reply to the comments.

Q: Will I gain weight when taking creatine?
A: It is possible to gain a couple of pounds when you first start taking creatine. Have no fear though. You are not getting fat all of a sudden. As your body stores up the creatine, you will also hold more water within your muscle. This is the reason for the weight gain that is seen. Stopping the creatine will lead to lower stores and therefore less water being held on to and the weight will come off. Having said all this, I urge you not to focus on the scale when determining your health and performance. These few pounds of water will not affect your performance, even gymnastics. The small change in bodyweight will be offset by the increased power output that the creatine provides. Actually, the increased bodyweight will help you to build more muscle and get used to that higher weight so when you shed the water you will be that much stronger.

Q: Is creatine safe?
A: Though most of the talk about creatine damaging kidneys has been proven false, there are a few important things to note. As I said earlier, you will store more water while taking creatine. This means you need to drink more water while taking it. I recommend drinking more water whenever you take any type of supplement as this will ease the work that is put on your kidneys. Having said that, creatine has not been found to be unsafe when taken in normal quantities (<10g/day).

Q: There is beta-alanine in my pre-workout and creatine in post-workout shake. Isn’t that good enough?
A: Unfortunately, with mixes such as pre- and post-workout shakes, the amount of the supplement is either unknown or less than the minimal dose. For example, many pre-workout powders will contain a “proprietary blend”. This basically allows the company to throw a bunch of crazy sounding ingredients together and not tell you the individual quantities of each. If it details how much beta-alanine is included, it will likely be around 1-1.5grams. Like I noted in the last post, you need closer to 6 grams daily to get any effect. Taking the pre-workout every once in a while will do nothing but give you some tingles so you think it is working. The same can be said for products containing creatine. There have been some drinks that recently advertise their inclusion of creatine. Once again, there is only about a gram of creatine in it. You would need to drink of these per day to get the recommended amount. This is why I highly suggest get the product by itself so you can monitor the actual dosage you are consuming each day.

Q: What’s so special about Blonyx’s products?
A: When I played football and ran track, I took both creatine and beta-alanine. However, I would get individual tubs of both and have to weigh out how much I took each time. Blonyx solves this problem by giving a pre-measured scoop so all you have to do is take one scoop in the morning and one scoop at night. Also, by splitting the dose across the day, you are less likely to experience some of the side effects, such as tingling with beta-alanine and stomach discomfort with creatine. Lastly, Blonyx’s products are clean. Just like we work with SFH because they only include the ingredients needed, Blonyx’s products contain only the supplement you desire. No added flavoring, sugar, or extraneous powder and root extracts. Simple, clean, and straight to the point. We have tubs of the Blonyx product on the main side of the gym for purchase. Just ask a coach if you are interested.

Hopefully, this cleared up some of the questions that people had. Again, continue to educate yourselves. Invest some time in to learning for your health and future. Comment, email (griffin@crossfitinfiltrate.com), and as always, stay hungry my friends.

The Problem with Netflix

Yogic Principle: Nonexcess

Most of us have binged on something at one point or another. Food. Netflix series. Lululemon (cough, cough, myself). The principle of nonexcess invites us to practice moderation and reflect not just on the things we binge on, but why.

So what else do we binge on? Material goods, yes. Sleep. Food. Money. Sex. Drugs/Alcohol. Even Exercise.

Student raises hand “But Becca, don’t we need these things to survive and for health & happiness?” Well young grasshopper, we sure do, but what happens when we tip over that edge from moderation to excess?

Too much sleep = groggy. Too much food = bloating/meat sweats (acute), obesity/disease (chronic). Too much alcohol/drugs = impairment of physical/mental capabilities (acute), job/family problems (chronic) Exercise = severe soreness, overuse injuries.

Why do we binge? Chasing the damn dragon. It’s looking to fill a void or get the same response we got the first time we used it. It’s about emotion, attachment, and trying to achieve something beyond our basic needs.

For the next few days, think about what you binge on. Be aware of it. Stop and ask yourself why you’re bingeing. Be mindful. Stop when your body has had what it needs.

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Supplementation

If you have been in the south gym lately, you likely will have noticed three things. First, there is a hole in the ceiling with water dripping down (it’s been a real headache for Jared, since the building maintenance has been not been doing this repair “for time”). Second, the whiteboard has been replaced with some fancy sheets of paper (small little explosive accident that will soon be remedied). Lastly, there is a new Blonyx banner hanging up in the corner. We recently partnered up with Blonyx to offer members products that can boost their performance. With so many supplements being sold by various companies in the fitness industry, I figured it would be a good idea to inform every one of which supplements have been proven to work, which ones do nothing more than turn your pee yellow, and which ones are actually a little scary. Naturally, I will start off with the products we have in the gym. However, don’t think that I am just attempting to sell these products to you; I am only educating you on what the research has shown. Feel free to do your own research, or use the links to studies I have posted below.

Although there are hundreds of thousands of supplements being sold, research has shown that very few of them actually have any sort of effect. Even still, the effect that is marketed may be limited to certain sub-population, such as elderly individuals or people with certain diagnoses. In order to figure out what products will work for the healthy athlete in the gym, you must look closely at what research has been done. In doing this, there are only just over a handful of products that are actually worth their value. I will begin with one of the most well-known and well-researched supplements, creatine.

There are many forms of creatine: creatine monohydrate, creatine esters, creatine salts, microionized creatine, etc. I am only going to focus on creatine monohydrate, as this has been proven to be the most effective. I could go into detail about the biochemistry behind creatine, but most of you would fall asleep before the end of the paragraph. To put it simply, creatine works by creating more ATP in your muscle cells. ATP is used to create energy to do work. This means you can generate more force and lift more weight. Specifically, creatine helps with explosive lifts such as the clean and jerk or the snatch. It also helps in low rep ranges for almost all movements, such as doing the CrossFit Total. By taking creatine, your muscles will be able to produce more power and you will be able to lift more weight. This will help to build more muscle to sustain that weight, so you will keep your strength even if you cycle off the creatine.

Like I said earlier though, there are some specifics to every product. You must have a certain amount of creatine for it to be effective. The easiest way to do it is to take at least 5 grams of creatine per day. The effect will not be immediate, as it will take some time for the creatine to store up in your body. Most people will starting feeling the difference in the second and third weeks. This also means that you cannot expect to take a gram of creatine every so often and see results. You must commit to taking it for a little while to see gains in performance. SFH has a product called Strong that contains the necessary 5 grams of creatine. Blonyx also has a product specifically for this. The directions are simple. Take a scoop in the morning and a scoop a night. No need to weigh it out or worry that you’re not actually getting the full required amount. This is because there are only two ingredients to this product, and the other ingredient makes me pretty excited.

The product made by Blonyx is called HMB + Creatine. HMB stands for hydroxymethylbutyrate and it’s a breakdown product of the amino acid leucine. HMB works through various signaling pathways to decrease muscle breakdown. Basically, as you workout, you breakdown muscle. This is why you feel sore the next day (or the whole next week depending on the workout). HMB decreases this breakdown to help you feel less sore and ready to go for your next workout. Just like creatine, it is a long term product. You must take it daily overtime to feel these results. HMB only requires 1-3 grams per day, however. In Blonyx’s product, you will get 3 grams for the day. This combination of HMB and creatine has me excited. Combining decreased muscle breakdown (less soreness) with increased muscle building kills two birds with one stone. Expect to see some gains made with this one. Jared took Blonyx Creatine + HMB in the year leading up to qualifying for the CrossFit Games, and it has his full stamp of approval which is often-times few and far between.

The last supplement I will discuss is much less known by its name. However, there is an interesting side effect that some people may know. If you have ever taken a pre-workout and felt tingling on your face or down your arms, you have experienced one of the side effects of beta-alanine. Beta-alanine does something interesting in the body. It helps to buffer acid build-up in muscle. Think of lactic acid production and the burning you feel while working out. Beta-alanine helps to decrease this burn and provide an optimal environment for your muscles to function efficiently. The most gain is seen during activity that lasts between 1-3 minutes, or medium rep range lifting. I used to take beta-alanine when I ran track and loved the difference it made. Just as before, the product requires a storage to build up and therefore must be taken over time. Doses of 3-6 grams daily have found to be the most effective. With Blonyx Beta-Alanine, you will consume 3 grams twice per day. This lower single dose taken with food will help to reduce the tingling side effect.

These three supplements have some of the most research behind them proving an increased performance. Whether you are seeking higher maxes, faster times, or just better body composition, these three can be a major help. If you have any questions about the products, just ask me or Jared. We will also be posting some informative flyers around the gym. Next week, I will discuss the rest of the supplements that have been proven effective for health and performance. Then, I will get into some of the most commonly used supplements that either do nothing or don’t work the way most people think they do. Until next week, stay hungry my friends.

Resources:
Creatine-
https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10591062_Effect_of_Creatine_Supplementation_on_Body_Composition_and_Performance_A_Meta-analysis

HMB-
https://examine.com/supplements/hmb/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280058939_Effect_of_beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate_supplementation_on_muscle_loss_in_older_adults_A_systematic_review_and_meta-analysis

Beta-Alanine-
https://examine.com/supplements/beta-alanine/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255690345_The_Effects_of_Beta-Alanine_Supplementation_on_Performance_A_Systematic_Review_of_the_Literature