Category: Uncategorized

08 Mar 2019

Head Trash

Call it negative self talk, head trash, lies, doubt, or fear.  We all deal with it on some level on a daily basis.  If often leaves us paralyzed or stagnant with where we are.  I wanted to be a trainer back in 2006, but I thought I would never be able to get certified or make a living doing so.  It wasn’t until 2011 that I pursued training as a living.  God had different plans for me those 5 years before that transformed my worldview and chilled me out quite a bit.  I trained for a year at a sports club and I was once asked what my dream job would be.  My answer was, “To own my own gym, but that will never happen.”  A year later my wife and I co-owned 2.  Fast forward to 2016 we were selling those and opening another for a fresh start.  Fear and self doubt kept me from pursuing fitness as a profession.  In reality, it just took some studying to pass a test to get my foot in the door.  I already had 15 years experience lifting weights, writing programming for myself, and reading hundreds of articles, magazines, books, and blogs.  Building a personal training business at a club took time and a lot of asking, ” Are you interested in training, my name is Bryan ect.”  My boss wouldn’t give me people, he made me go out and get it.   I remember him telling me, “I’m not going to go get the work for you, I could, but I’m not going to.  If I do that you won’t know what to do to get business after I am gone.”  It forced me to get out of my comfort zone.  I hated approaching people and introducing myself, but it worked.  I feared rejection and I got a lot of it.  For every 4-5 people I introduced myself to or asked it they wanted to train 1 would either say yes or approach me later to start.   Fear keeps us from doing a lot of things and all the head trash is really just lies.  The moment we start believing the truth and doing the uncomfortable work is when the growth starts.  If you go against the grain and grind it will pay off.  It might take months or even years.  So, how does this apply to CrossFit  you might say.  This is how.

 

CrossFit is hard, very hard and it’s really uncomfortable.   If you don’t like hard work you won’t like CrossFit.  I often tell people I wan’t to quit a lot of my workouts.  I fight head trash before and after.  I’m known to procrastinate for up to 30 minutes before doing some workouts.  Why?  I’m fighting the inevitable misery I am about to endure.  Why do it then?  The discipline and the outcome is why.  I almost always try to find a way out of a workout in my head while I am doing it or I want to slow down and take a break and 99.9% of the time I don’t.  Physically and mentally enduring the discomfort and getting through it with others is priceless to your mental health.  This discipline has carry over to the rest of your life.  The daily grind of working out when you don’t feel like it has a funny way of making everything else life throws at you easier to endure.  The head trash is confronted, you have no choice.  Your anger, stress, fear, tiredness, self doubt, or whatever you are dealing with in dealt with through the physical stress.  Even if a temporary break from the madness, it’s worth it, and it works when you stick with it. Discipline takes time to form.  A disciple is a disciplined follower.  Followers follow for a prolonged amount of time before they are transformed.

03 Mar 2019

3 Tips for Optimal Recovery

Recovery is an often overlooked component in training.  Why?  Well, because working out more should equal greater fitness, but if you aren’t recovering, chances are you aren’t progressing like you thing you are.  Did you know it can take up to 2 weeks for muscles to fully recover from a workout?  Yes, 2 weeks.  I attended a class where they did the data at the University of Maryland and it took longer than that.  If that’s the case, does working out more equal results?  You can still workout not being fully recovered, but having these facts should lead us to considering how we can optimize healing. Here are 3 things we can do to enhance our healing and unlock our gains.  This is not an exhaustive list by any means.

  1. Sleep 7+ hours a night.  This is when your body repairs itself and when our growth hormone is released.  If you aren’t sleeping well, chances are you are not going to recover well.  Hormones are negatively affected as well, especially in men, as estrogen levels tend to rise with elevated cortisol from lack of sleep.  Try 5mg of melatonin and a gram of magnesium if you need some help sleeping.  Take this at least 30 minutes before bed and turn off the electronics.
  2. Diet and Supplement.  Creatine and protein should be staples in the crossfitter’s recovery protocol.  This should never replace a good diet.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5753968/
  3. Drink water and lots of it.  Staying hydrated assures our muscles are ready to perform and ready to receive nutrients.  Try drinking an extra 2-3 glasses a day.  Have a full glass upon waking and another an hour before your workout.
03 Mar 2019

Get Better

CrossFit punishes the specialist.  We have all seen the strong guy die during conditioning or the conditioned guy get crushed by heavy weight and we have all seen the guy that can do both.  You know the guy or girl who is conditioned, strong, has the skills, and is overall pretty good at everything.  Sure, some of the elite athletes have a strength bias or a gymnastics background, but they typically have no glaring weaknesses.

 

What are your weaknesses.  Pick 3 and work on them for a month, just 5-10 minutes a day.  You will be amazed at how much better you get.  GOATS are your weaknesses.  Kill your GOAT and unlock your potential.  If you fail to address your weaknesses you will not reach your potential in the sport of CrossFit.  Our weaknesses always find us out, especially in the Open.

TIPS to take to the bank before the next OPEN:

  • Do an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.  Skills, weightlifting, conditioning.
  • Ask coach for a plan to address the weaknesses or get after it on your own. No excuses.
  • Intentionally do them.  If you hate thrusters and burpees, do thrusters and burpees. There is no magic formula and it does not have to be perfect.
01 Mar 2019

Change your mind, change your body and 3 Tips to overcome your obstacles.

We tend to look everywhere but in the mirror when things aren’t going our way.  This happens in all facets of life.  The moment Eve took a bite of the apple and the Lord came to her, she blamed the serpent for deceiving her. The man then blamed Eve for her giving him a bite of the apple they were not supposed to eat.  My point is this:  Blame  shifting has been happening since the beginning of time.  It is pervasive in our culture.  Athletes get caught cheating all the time, as do business executives, spouses, ect. When is the last time we heard someone famous that got caught own up to their mistakes?  It rarely ever happens.   We usually hear excuses, rationalizations, lies, and the placing of blame on others.

Most of us do this to ourselves.  We sabotage our health and fitness by our daily putting things off, making excuses as to why we cannot do something, and blame others for how we are the way we are.  We make our own truths in our heads, which are actually lies, and we avoid pursuing our goals.  It’s self-preservation and being flat out lazy. You want to look a particular way?  Everyone has an ideal body image.  People want more energy and to feel better about themselves.  Guess what it takes?  4-6 workouts a week and eating better.  A lot better.  Is that really Mt. Everest in your mind?  Change your mind and you will change your body.  Your decisions, and your mindset got you where you are today. Where you might say?  Some are way out of shape and on bp meds, cholesterol meds, have type 2 diabetes or are on their way, and some have just been coasting, pursuing mediocrity.  I’ve been there. I’ve slacked off and tried getting away with eating crap. Change, true change happens when we take responsibility for where we are at and take actionable steps to improve, no matter how uncomfortable in may be.

 

Here’s 5 Things I have learned from my past drug addiction, being a drug and alcohol counselor, personal trainer, and now a gym owner for 6 years that apply to fitness success:

 

  1.  The moment you decide you are to blame for where you are at is the moment you can pursue a different lifestyle.  The moment addicts stop blaming others and take ownership is often the beginning of sobriety.  I did it.  I stopped blaming the drugs.  Nobody got me to where I am today. It ain’t that hard to do.  Maybe you just need to lose that last 5lbs, maybe you want to get off your cholesterol medicine, or maybe you  are 100lb overweight.  It doesn’t matter.  Take ownership of your bad choices and start making better ones.  It is that easy.  It’s an 180 degree about face.
  2. Put some skin in the game and have a reason as to why you are doing it.  Sign a contract, pay in full, place a bet, hire a trainer, hire a nutritionist, and do whatever it takes.  For many it is a matter of life and death.  Do it for your family, do it for yourself, do it so you can grow up to see your grandchildren, do it to please your spouse, or just do it to feel better on a daily basis. Do it because it is the healthy thing to do.
  3. If you have a reservation you will take it.  By this I mean, if you say to yourself: “I am going to try it out and if I don’t like it I will go somewhere else.”  I could write a page of the excuses I have heard over the years.  Cancel your reservations.  Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, not a one stop shop, quick injection and back to what you did before.  You gotta stay after it or you will be right back where you were before.  I have seen it play out just as much in fitness as I have in addiction.  Make a commitment to yourself. You are capable. You just need to change your mind .
  4. Pursue discomfort.  99% avoid it.  The road less traveled is the tough road nobody wants to take.  Maybe you have to wake up at 4:30 to make the 5:30am.  But, that’s early and I’m not a morning person.  I hear that all the time.  So what, get up and start doing it and you will become a morning person.  If that’s what it takes do it.  Stop being so soft.  You can train yourself to be tough.
  5. Surround yourself with winners.  If you hang around losers or mediocrity there’s a good chance you will be a loser or extremely average.  He who walks with the wise will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm (proverb).  Get into a gym with people pursuing healthy eating and fitness and it will rub off on you or hang out with people that eat junk, sit on the couch and complain.  The choice is yours.
01 Mar 2019

Making Good Choices

How does one improve in  CrossFit?  What does it take to “get better?”   If you have invested in CrossFit as your exercise program or sport, this is a great question to answer for yourself.   There is not a one answer fits all on how to improve, without knowing ones strengths, weaknesses, sleep, diet, prior conditioning, x/week in class, how long crossfitting, stress levels, injuries, coordination, ect.   There is one thing we cannot do without, and that is consistent class attendance over the course of weeks, months, and years.

Skill development takes a lot of practice.  How many of us have been trying to get double unders, kipping pull ups, handstand walks, or muscle ups?  How many of us get frustrated in class when we cannot get them?  If we aren’t in class consistently we make go a few weeks without practicing a particular lift or skill.  I have often heard that it has been a “long time” or weeks since we have done certain movements, when in reality they just happened days ago or last week, you just weren’t here.  If you look around the room and see someone that has something you don’t, chances are they have been doing CrossFit longer than you have or they come 5 days a week and you make it twice.  The more you come, the better you can and will get.

Strength gains can take several months or even years to develop.  If you see someone really strong, that did not happen overnight.  Years of squatting, deadlifting, or pressing has led to the overall strength this athlete has.  The biggest mistake males make is coming into class and trying to lift beyond their capabilities.  Why do guys do this?  Ego mostly.  Often times guys will see another guy lifting a particular weight and try to do it during the workout.  Girls aren’t exempt, but girls seem to be smarter in this regard.  Lifting beyond your capabilities doesn’t get you stronger, it wrecks your joints.  You know, the deadlifts with rounded backs or the jerks where there is a 5 second struggle with a big arched back to push it overhead.  Our tendons, ligaments, and muscles can only take so much stress and placing loads we aren’t ready to lift is counterproductive to our progress in CrossFit or any sport for that matter.  A good rule of thumb is that you control the weight, the weight does not control you.  Advanced athletes with developed musculature have more wiggle room to test heavier loads than newer athletes.  Newer athletes or athletes that have mobility concerns will do best using lighter loads and moving faster to increase their capacity.  Yes they still need to get stronger, but smart choices need to be made along the way.  An athlete would better progress themselves by using 10-20lb less and being able to cycle the barbell, then doing Rx weight and getting crushed.  Yes you lifted the weight, but it looked awful and my guess is it felt awful.  I hear this a lot.  “That felt really bad or man that was too much weight.”  Why?  For the sake of what do we make these decisions?  Just to Rx?  Our ego hinders our progress.

Progress won’t come overnight.  “I just can’t get…._________ fill in the blank.  I hear this from athletes that have been coming for just a few months.  It took me over 6 months of practice to get muscle ups.  Kipping pull ups took months of practice and double unders took me just as long, but I practiced a lot.   Like everyday I did double unders.  Taking 5 minutes a day on a skill for a month will pay dividends.  What would happen to the athlete that did double unders for 5 minutes a day for a month?  I bet they would make huge improvements.  I had a guy years ago that did handstand walks everyday before class and within a month he was walking up stacks of plates.  He went from barely being able to do one, to walking up an incline in a month.  Be patient and practice.  Skills take a long time to develop.  Most athletes seem to practice a few times and stop because they aren’t getting it.  This mentality has to stop.

18 Feb 2019

QUICK FIXES DON’T WORK

Think about it.  In what arena of life does a quick fix work in regards to our relational,  physical, emotional, or spiritual parts of our lives?  6 Weeks challenge, 30 Day challenges, 21 days to a new habit, New Years resolutions, 90 day challenges, and plenty of other programs.  I have run a few of these, not promising a quick fix, but a road to reach goals and create new positive eating habits and exercise.  Why do we burn out so quickly with eating and exercise?  Fitness gyms are a revolving door as our diets.  We try out a new way of eating for a little bit or we “try” a gym for awhile and if we don’t see the results we expected we quit or go somewhere else. After witnessing more failures than successes I believe we have false expectations and our society has given us so many different options that are about us, it has become more and more convenient to quit.  The gym didn’t work. The church wasn’t for me.  I tried eating Paleo for a month and I didn’t see any results so I quit.  I hear it all the time.  Our society has marketed quick fixes to us for decades.  It sells well, but it always fails to deliver.  It works often times for weeks and athletes quickly plateau.

 

As cliche as it sounds, it has to become a lifestyle change.   You have to adopt CrossFit as your exercise program for life.  Sure do other things too, but go all in.  I want to try it to see if it’s for me has to be the worst approach to fitness.  I believe in trials, but I more so believe in what science says and what bodies show me.  I study the science, I look at the athletes, and I make a decision.  If it is producing for others it will produce for me.  I don’t care if I don’t like it. I honestly hate the way metabolic conditioning feels.  Comfort is the worst enemy in fitness.  You get comfortable on your couch.  Their’s no room for comfort in training.  Working out is called working out because it is work.  Getting strong takes years.  Progressing in skills can take years upon years.  You can always improve no matter how long you have been doing CrossFit.  That is what separates CrossFit from other programs.  You have to make the commitment for the long haul.  Is CrossFit your exercise program or do you have one foot in the water and the other out?  Once you jump in you will begin to progress far more rapidly.

14 Feb 2019

Incremental Improvements

From what I have witnessed owning a gym for 6 years is the lack of patience in making progress.  Even after expressing how long it may take and how much work is involved in getting stronger or progressing with a gymnastics movement there still seems to be a lack of desire to work to get there.  Everyone wants muscle ups, but many have accepted that they never will get them so they don’t try anymore or that they want them now and they are unwilling to work to get them.  Why is this?  Probably due to our culture and the get it your way right away mentality.  Not everyone is like this, but I see it often. Bryan….”I’m just not getting this or I am just not able to do this yet.”  I usually hear this after a 3-4 weeks after giving an athlete something to do.  Fact is, most athletes aren’t strong enough, and do you know how long it takes to get strong?  A long time for a lot of people.  Maybe a year, maybe 2 years, maybe 3 months.  Everyone is different.  Some athletes are strong enough, but want to skip the skill work/progressions to get the movements.  Then, when not achieving a lift or skill they get frustrated and stay frustrated or skip it all together.

The solution?  The solution is the daily grind.  Daily working on things, even small things.  It doesn’t take 30 minutes a day to get better.  Take 5 minutes a day over the course of 3-6 months and I bet you will turn a weakness into a strength.  Handstand walk 5 minutes a day and I bet if you were almost walking you will be.  The “I want it now mentality” = an athlete that cannot be coached. 99% of athletes cannot skip progressions and practice.  Every now and then someone will have muscle ups right away, but do you know what?  They don’t work on perfecting them, more often than not.  Even they can improve incrementally on a daily basis.

Pick a skill, any skill and work on it 5 minutes a day for a month and I bet you improve drastically.  Find your weakness. Is it strength?  Mobility?  Find it and attack it.  It takes work.

10 Feb 2019

Cleanse Your Gut, Accelerate Your Fat Loss, Solve your hunger

Most people fail diets do to many factors and the result of the failure is back to the prior unhealthy way of eating. Mainly fast foods, high carbs, sugar, soda ect.  For many the cravings seem to great to pass up, and they make compromises here and there that eventually lead to throwing in the towel altogether.  Did you know that 3/4 of your immune system is in your GUT?  We have healthy bacteria in our intestines and unhealthy (yeast for example) and there has to be an optimal balance, otherwise one of the 2 wins.  Yeast thrives on carbohydrates.  Feed your body carbs and guess what your gut craves? More carbohydrates.  I have had horrible yeast problems in my gut and the detox is awful. What I have found is that if you can make it a week abstaining from sugar, grains, ect, the cravings go away and cleansing the gut during this time with healthy foods and concoctions accelerates the process.

4 Tips to Cleanse Your Gut

  1. Eat foods high in fiber and natural probiotics and prebiotics.  Fermented foods , chia seeds, flax seeds, garlic, greens, apples, lemons, onions, ….
  2. Drink extra water. In the morning drink 8-12 ounces of water with a full lemon and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  At night do the same, only make tea with it and add a teaspoon of honey and if you can manage some ginger add this too.
  3. Buy a top notch probiotic and a yeast detox pill.  Take both together for up to 2 weeks, at least a weeks and thereafter a few times a week for a month.
  4. Eat strict Paleo/Keto diet. Higher fat and protein with no sugar.

What you will find is that the cravings go away for carbs.  You will lose weight.  Most americans guts are destroyed from antibiotics, processed foods, stress, and excess carbohydrates.

19 Jan 2019

Diet Simplified/Paleo/Attitude

Let’s face it, there are so many diets to choose from it makes it hard to know where to start.  99.9% of the people that walk into the gym are looking to either lose weight, build muscle, or do both.  So, how does one eat to achieve their goals?  Do you count macros?  Go Paleo? Keto? Zone? The answer is yes to all.  Choose one and follow it all the way through.  Problem is that most people crash and burn. “I tried it and it didn’t work.”  Ok, well, “How long did you do it for.”  The typical answer is anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.  We all want a quick fix.  It is a lifestyle change, to sound cliche.  Eating right will have it’s ups and downs like all facets of life, but you gotta stick with it, forever.  Fitness is no different.  I tried xyz program and it didn’t work for me.  The cold hard truth is this: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.   Not the diet, not the program, not your lack of time, too much work, too busy, too tired, didn’t like the gym, money, ect.   Everyone has hurdles, but our attitudes are the biggest obstacle to our success.   Eating right takes work as does fitness, but get real with yourself, it ain’t that hard.  When I started cooking for myself I had a revelation: I was lazy.  I told myself this isn’t tough, I’m just lazy most of the time.  Eating the Paleo diet is by far the easiest way to eat healthy.  I’ve made it simple:

 

Eat colorful veggies, lean meats and fish, good fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.  Limit fruit if you are trying to lose weight.  Do not eat sugar, grains, pasta, legumes, or dairy.  It works.  You will feel better, look better, and you will have more energy.  More often than not, the things we refuse to give up are the things that are keeping you from progress.  Change your attitude and  you will change your habits. Change your habits and you will destroy your goals.

30 Nov 2018

Wants Vs Needs

Over the last 15 years I have conducted hundreds of intake interviews as a drug and alcohol counselor as well as a gym owner for the last 7 years.  In both instances people are coming in to fix a problem they don’t have the answer to.   Men coming out of addiction often want help, but they want the help on their terms.  Many are not willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.  Hate to break it to you, but people coming in to get fit and healthy are no different.  It more often than not goes something like this:

Client: “I want to lose 10-20lb, gain some strength, have more energy, and feel better about myself.”

Me: We can help you accomplish all of these goals, in fact here are a few stories of people here that were in the same position you are in and they have crushed these goals ect. ect.

Client: “I want to see if I like it or ok I will think about it.” -More often than not.

 

Hear me out.  There is nothing wrong with trying things first before investing financially.  I would too.  You need to ask yourself this question: Do I want to do something I enjoy or something that works?  The truth is this:  What works to change your body is uncomfortable.  It isn’t very “enjoyable”.  Progress in body change takes discipline and it takes months of temporary suffering.  It is hard-work.  That’s the truth.

 

The answer to your fitness needs:  Do what you need and put your trust in a gym that can get you there.  Ditch what you want to do, because doing what you want to do lead you through the doors without the physical change you were looking for.  It might take 6 months to a year to get where you want to be.  You have to be ok with that. There are not any easy roads or quick fixes to creating change.