Last week Mark’s Daily Apple had an interesting read on skipping meals and workouts as being healthy. Based off the title of the article it’s no secret that rest days are beneficial. Days away from the gym allow the body and mind to recover from the variety and intense workouts we do. When it comes to food, I am constantly eating throughout the day to keep my body properly fueled. During the nutritional challenge I especially had to keep up my food intake so I could perform well on lifts and WODs. So it would be hard to imagine that skipping meals would be beneficial for someone like me. As I read on I did learn that there are plenty of benefits of skipping meals, or as the article calls it, “Intermittent Fasting” or “IF”. Within the article there are a few links that provide back up on studies performed on animals and humans and the results from fasting. Through these experimental studies, humans not only showed a decrease of fat loss, but improvements in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. Although these particular cases had positive outcomes, it does NOT mean to go ahead and immediately skip meals throughout the day and see how you feel. If this is something that sparks your interest then do the research and find out if this something worth exploring. As for me I personally feel that I will have major setbacks if I don’t keep my body fueled. The times that I have missed a meal I start thinking that my body won’t be properly balanced for the remainder of the day and thus won’t perform as well in the gym. Luckily as I kept reading I found that our body doesn’t work like that. Just because I haven’t eaten for 8 hours my body won’t burn my muscle for energy. It is same concept when sleeping at night for 7-9 hours. Sure, I’ll be hungry, but just have to remember it is not the worst case scenario. So from this article we can take that skipping a meal and a workout is not necessarily the end of the world. You don’t have to beat yourself up over “Intermittent Fasting” with a meal or taking a “Rest Day”. Unless certain goals are in mind say, gaining muscle, then eating and working out consistently would be vital. Please go ahead and take a look through the articles as they provided great information.
Today marks day 1 of the SoCal CrossFit Regionals Competition where the top 48 men and women as well as the top 30 teams from the Open will complete 7 grueling events over the course of 3 days. For the second time since the inception of the Games, all athletes across all regions will complete the same 7 workouts to have a true worldwide comparison. Each athlete will have a Level 1 judge watching every rep to ensure proper movement standards are completed. And, barring disqualifications or failure to complete minimum work requirements, there will be no daily cuts. At the end of day 3, only the top 3 men, women and teams per region will advance to compete in the 2013 CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Center July 22-28.
Shown below are the Individual and Team Events listed by day. While tickets are no longer available online, you can still head down to the Del Mar Arena located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar 92014 and purchase tickets at the door. There’s also a $10 daily parking fee. I believe there’s a group of Intrepids who are heading down to watch Saturday’s events.
Courtesy of http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/regionals
Courtesy of http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/regionals
As you can see, the athletes have their work cut out for them. Watching these top notch athletes give it their all for a top spot will be inspiring. The roar from the crowds cheering each athlete down to the last rep is the intoxicating CrossFit camaraderie that we love and it is sure to be experienced at Regionals. If you weren’t lucky enough to grab Games tickets on May 13 (They sold out in 15 minutes!), I highly recommend going to Regionals. Good luck competitors! We look forward to a great show!
Well, I think that I’ll go first. I participated in the nutrition challenge and I now have the results of my dunk and have an inkling about how the performance and strength portion will go. I’ll guide you through my personal evaluation and hopefully you all will choose to do the same. My first step was to look at my original goal and the steps I was planning to take to geth there. I made my goal to increase strength and I was going to do that by lifting more and increasing my food intake (paleo choices). I kept a food log and took weekly pictures to track my progress. I also added strict pullups, pushups and ring dips to my daily routine.
My next step is to evaluate how well I stuck to my plan to meet my goal, and the outcome of the challenge. I would say that with the exception of a couple of weeks where work and travelling kept me busy, I stuck to my goal. I was eating a lot more protein and always ordering extra meat when I went out to eat. The weekly trip to the grocery store included a lot more food than normal. I was also giving up some weekend metcons to lift more, and making sure I did squat and some form of deadlift twice a week each. At the end of the challenge I had gained about 1 pound of lean mass and my bodyfat percentage was essentially the same. I anticipate that both my performance and strength will have improved, just not as much as I hoped it would with my increase in food intake and lifting volume. However, I did notice a huge improvement in my ability to recover from a heavy lift day or from a tough WOD.
The final step is to determine a path forward based on your results vs your original goal. Personally I was hoping to gain more lean mass and improve my strength significantly and therefore end up with a performance improvement as well. Since I feel I fell short of my goal, but saw a performance improvement, my plan moving forward is to continue to not focus only on protien, but try to increase my fat and (paleo friendly) carb intake. I discovered that clearly I wasn’t eating enough to recover, so now that I’m recovering, I need to add more to my diet to see a significant strength and performance improvement. Over the next three months of keeping up with my lifts, and increasing my fat and carb intake, I’ll benchmark the challenge lifts once again and see if I find a more significant improvement.
Now that I’ve opened up to all of you, hopefully some (or all!) of you will be willing to open up with others and discuss your results and adjusted goals/plan. We’d love to hear nutrition challenge reflections from each and every one of our participants. Maybe consider submitting a post-style reflection that could be shared with the gym. There are a lot of different body types out there, but usually there’s someone out there with similar goals and goats, and they would benefit from hearing about your lessons learned. Now that I’ve broken the ice, who’s next?
I am a strong believer in learning from my mistakes. An added bonus is when you can add to your learning by paying attention to the mistakes others make as well. Ruth’s post yesterday delved into the variety of post-dunk reactions we observed on Monday. I wanted to address some of the mistakes I personally made, some of those I noticed others made and suggestions for future improvement.
For those that didn’t reach their goal or see as much progress as they had hoped, the common refrain I heard was that people wished the challenge was only 30 days. The idea of a binge diet and a sprint to the finish line was easier to tolerate than to actually make the changes a part of an ongoing lifestyle. During those first 30 days, many were on a Whole30 and the buzz in the gym was palpable. People were swapping recipes and tips and I was getting regular questions and comments.
Unfortunately, that all started to die off after day 31 when people were left to their own devices. It’s completely understandable that focus will wax and wane over that time but the entire point was to be able to pick yourself back up and get on track.
Everyone knew I was available to work with anyone in the challenge on their dietary quandaries. I mainly received questions about meal timing — and that was only in the first 30 days. After that? Crickets. Not one single contestant came to me with a food log to review. If you weren’t happy with your results, did you keep a food log on your own?
For future nutrition challenges (side note: we’re eyeing the fall for our next one), I will be bringing back mandatory food logs. I find that the act of logging your intake makes one truly reflect about what makes its way into their piehole. The community feel we had during those first 30 days can also help to stay on track. To help encourage that, we are tossing the idea of a couple of potlucks and possibly a Facebook group to swap recipes, post meal photos or even just vent about how hard you think the Whole30 is. (It really isn’t, but we’ll still let you vent.)
What changes do you think would have helped you in this challenge?
5 Curtis P’s @ 70% BW
Athlete performs one round while partner rests. Switch and repeat until 20 minute timecap. Score is total rounds completed.
*1 Curtis P. consists of a
-1 Lunge on each leg
-1 Push Press
Benchmark workouts for the Nutrition Challenge will take place next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Makeup days must be scheduled in advance with Ruth or Marcus for anyone participating in the Challenge. Winners will be announced by the first week of June. Also, make sure you dig out your original numbers from February in case we are missing some from the board.
So you got your “after” dunk. Now what? Go back and give an honest assessment of what your goals were on that very first dunk day 3 moons ago. When you turned in your Challenge entry so full of good intentions and, for some of you, trepidation. Did you check off “fat loss,” “strength gain,” or “overall performance?” Granted, we haven’t completed the benchmark lifts and workouts yet but most of you will know how you will fare based on your lean body mass gain/loss.
Yesterday I heard reactions ranging from surprisingly pleased to surprisingly disappointed to ‘meh-I-didn’t-really-participate-anyway.’ I also heard some express interest in repeating this dunk in 3 and/or 6 months’ time. So let’s talk about your plan going forward. The operative word being PLAN. Ending the challenge and resuming life as is without giving it any thought can be detrimental if your fall back is a lifestyle that does not remotely resemble the last three months’. Formulate a plan to improve upon your current state and pick something to continue to work on (fat loss, strength gain, etc). Let’s look at the different reactions to results:
Pleased/Met goals: Awesome job. You put a quarter of a year’s work into this project and you got to reap the rewards. Most likely you kept up a healthy lifestyle after the first [Whole] 30 days. Chances are you have made lifestyle changes that will stick for the rest of the year. Still, are you happy with your current body composition? Can you stand to lose fat/gain lean mass to optimize performance? If so, here are some possible goals for the next three months. Pick one or two to focus on.
Portion control or increase
Attention to macronutrients (are you a protein only eater? Do you eat a pound of pistachios per sitting? Are you pounding sweet potato in non post-wod meals?)
Increase sleep / Reduce stress
Workout less (for the cardio junkies who log miles and miles each week but can’t seem to lower body fat)
Disappointed/Miss goals: Time to show yourself a bit of tough love and figure out what went wrong. Did you get complacent after the first month? Did you reduce workout days but maintain the same food portions? Did you lose (or not gain) lean body mass? Did you have unrealistic expectations? For you guys, the above goals apply but you have to put yourself under the microscope and pinpoint one or two of the above that truly stood in the way of your improvement. If you’re stumped, any of the coaches will be happy to help.
Determine what went wrong
Formulate a plan
Buckle down and use the last 90 days as a ‘practice run’
Meh/I don’t really care: Oh, sigh. Time to really reassess your goals. Are you a competitive athlete or is this merely a social outlet? Chances are the complacency with your results also applies to your performance. If you found yourself in this group, you need to take the time to define some goals.
Post to comments if you are interested in a subsequent dunk in 3/6 months AND what your next goal(s) will be.
Community Wellness Day
Intrepid Athletics will be hosting a booth at the El Segundo Community Wellness Day on Saturday, June 1st 10am-2pm, at the El Segundo High School football field! We’re looking for people who are free to come by and either demo a mini WOD, or just answer any questions from local peeps. We’ll have some double under challenges as well as other mini games for people to participate in. This is a great opportunity to get your friends to get a taste of what you do in the gym without committing to a *gasp* trial class. Let Ruth or Sean know if you can come by to help and what times (ie 10-11am, etc).
15 Muscle Ups (or sub 30 Ring Dips)
30 Kettlebell Swings
50 Double Unders
It’s no secret that one reason people get hooked on CrossFit is because of the variety of movements, skills, equipment, and modalities. Perfect for those of us with fitness ADD and those always searching for ways to challenge ourselves. Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, ropes, rings, bars, rowing, running, swimming, cycling, etc…the list goes on and on and believe it or not continues to grow. So many things, so little time. Here are a few programs we are starting that are geared towards helping you improve:
Intrepid Barbell Club:
Basic Barbell Program – The Basic Barbell program is geared towards the CrossFitter who wants to increase their strength as well as the competitive Powerlifter training for an upcoming competition. Participants must be able to demonstrate adequate knowledge of basic barbell movements (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Press) as well as the basic variations of the Olympic Lifts (Power Snatch, Power Clean, Push Press) without constant supervision. CrossFit athletes will be provided with a workout that supplements the CrossFit training during the week. Powerlifting athletes will be provided with a workout that is geared towards maximizing their strength in the Back Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift for an upcoming competition. Currently four sessions are offered per week at 7:30am and 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If interested inquire with Ruth or Sean.
Advanced Barbell Program – The Advanced Barbell program is geared towards the CrossFitter who wants to increase their power and proficiency in the Olympic Lifts (Snatch, Clean & Jerk) as well as the competitive Olympic lifter training for an upcoming competition. Athletes must demonstrate mastery of basic barbell movements as well as adequate knowledge of the Olympic lifts. CrossFit athletes will be provided with a workout that supplements the CrossFit training during the week. Olympic weightlifting athletes will be provided with a workout that is geared towards maximizing efficiency and power in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk for an upcoming competition. Currently two sessions are offered per week on Thursday evening and Saturday morning. If interested inquire with Ruth or Sean.
Intrepid Running Club:
Endurance Running – The Endurance Running class is geared towards CrossFitters, Triathletes, and competitive runners wanting to improve running economy, durability, and work capacity. Class consists of a warm-up, running skills and drills, running Workout of the Day (WOD), and cool-down. Workouts may take place at our facility as well as off-site locations. Currently three sessions per week are offered on Tuesday morning, Thursday afternoon, and Saturday morning. If interested inquire with Sean.
Intrepid Kids (Coming in June):
Beginning in June we will start offering 30 minute Kids’ classes on Saturday mornings. Ages 4-8 from 8-8:30am and ages 9-12 from 8:30-9am. More information will be announced as the time nears, but inquire with Ruth or Sean if interested.
Back Squat 3×5 or Wendler
10 2-fer Wallball Shots
10 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
10 Box Jumps (30/24)
Sometimes when I’m at work, surrounded by people who don’t understand enjoying time at the gym or being active, I have to defend one of my favorite pastimes; working out. My coworkers know that I love CrossFit style programming. I like lifting heavy things and testing my limits. AMRAP’s, Max lifts, who doesn’t? Some of my co workers don’t understand it. I can only assume they are intimidated by it. Intimidation can lead to a bullying type situation. Bullying sometimes involves teasing and being made fun. Recently, my coworker made it a point to tell me that doing CrossFit serves no purpose other than vanity. Getting slim, getting big arms or to get “ripped up” (his words) and that no one would ever need to heave a 100 pound stone over their shoulder, do olympic lifts or push double their body weight on a sled. I argued that people lift things all the time like bags of dog food and children, what if your car stalled you might need to push it to the shoulder of the road and Oly lifting trains your body to move weight in a controlled and balanced way, body awareness at it’s best. His argument to that was saying no one buys ‘that much’ dog food, tow trucks were invented for a reason and everyone is always aware of their body else they would be tripping over themselves all the time. We went back and forth as he named his idea of useless movements like a clean and jerk, kettlebell swings and pullovers. I continued to compare these movements to real life situations. I am a patient woman to a point, and he had taken me to that point. Just a note here; I don’t condone doing what I did. Strength is not a parlor trick. To stop the mockery and to end this pointless argument I asked to touch him and swept him off his feet and cradled him. He’s much taller than I am and outweighs me. I looked at him and said “Wouldn’t you be thankful if you were injured and had to be carried out of a bad situation like a building collapse in an earthquake?”. After placing him back down, he looked at me in a stunned silence. Haven’t heard any teasing since. But that got me thinking just how useful it is to workout and lift heavy things. Again, it’s not to end arguments or to show off. It’s to be able to live your life and be capable of doing things you may not have thought possible.
Another great example of function from our fitness was when coach Holley helped me move a few weekends ago. I had to get my couch through a narrow fence door but the couch was too wide. The only option was to get it overhead and walk with it. Holley was at the end closest to the door. After examination of the door and couch she paused, looked at me and said “Clean and press?”. Brilliant. On a three count we jumped the couch up to shoulder level, pivoted our hands and pressed it over head. From there it was about 6 feet of walking with the couch overhead and then back down to thigh level. Boom! Done and done.
Sean had a real life event in which he helped a woman who had fallen. This is keepin it real at it’s best. In a nutshel he helped a woman who was unable to help herself at the time. She had fallen and Sean, being nearby and able bodied, lifted her up off the ground. Another recent example comes from a friend who is also an avid CrossFitter. One of her athletes had hurt her ankle during a run. The athlete was unable to walk and my friend carried her back to the gym in the middle of a workout. Everyday examples abound. Carrying groceries = farmers carries, Increasing your length of play time with the kids, pets or sports = cardio fitness. Olympic lifting = improved body awareness which translates into everyday movement. Flexibility and learning skills to recover quickly from injuries = skills days. The list is long.
Keep it real people. most of the movements we do in the gym correlate to movements we do daily. Doing a workout creates a more balanced, functional and stronger human being. Enjoy that and use your power well.
I’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to the fearless leader of the 7pm class! Happy Bday Marcus and we all hope you have a wonderful birthday weekend!
These last few days Ashley B. and I have been to D.C., Annapolis, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City. We’ve been out here visiting her sister, who attends the Naval Academy, and have tried our best to fill our days and nights with awesome attractions, restaurants, and the occasional WOD. Since we have been out here we managed to attend two different gyms. The morning we flew into D.C. we got our rental car and drove straight to District Crossfit. A week prior I went ahead and emailed Andrew Killion, head trainer and owner, about stopping by for a WOD. He responded within a day and said that there wouldn’t be any issues with dropping by. In his email he sent me an online wavier to fill out. The process was painless and took less than 10 minutes to fill out. The only thing we needed to bring to the class was $20 for the drop in fee. As we walked through the door the 6am class was underway. The trainer, Jonathon, walked over to us and introduced himself. He asked if we had done Crossfit before and we filled him in with our experience. During the warm up for the 7am class everyone made an effort to introduce themselves. After 15 minutes of hamstring mobility, feet together burpees, and box jumps, we got into the lift. The lift was snatch pulls and weight could be added onto the bar as long as form was not compromised. Jonathon made his rounds and did a great job of keeping his eyes on his athletes as well as Ashley and myself. The WOD was 3 rounds of 20 heavy goblet squats and 15 pull-ups. It was a quick, but a high intensity workout. What is very unique about this gym is that they always program 2 lifts and 2 WODs for athletes. One is geared to folks who are looking to improve on the basics and get into good shape (fitness) and the other is targeted for athletes that only want to compete (performance). Ashley and I really enjoyed our WOD at District Crossfit and would most likely come back if we are in the area again.
For our second WOD we went to Crossfit Annapolis and they happen to be the only gym in the city. Just like District Crossfit I had a fast response from one of their trainers letting me know that it would be more than OK to swing on by. When we walked in we took notice to the size of the gym. They had lots of space with plenty of racks, pull-up bars, yoke stations, etc. After a solid 20 minute warm up we got into the WOD. I noticed from their board that Monday-Thursday classes had a portion of class for strength and then a shorter WOD. Friday’s class looked to consist of a longer met-con. The WOD was 21 press, 400 meter run, 21 push press, 400 meter run, and then 21 push jerks and one last 400 meter run. I think on a normal Southern California day this workout would have sucked, but with high humidity you can imagine this to be a much sweatier WOD. Ashley and I found it very hard to grip the bar since our hands were slippery. The run was a little difficult as well since the weather was dry making it hard to breathe. After the workout the Annapolis athletes came up to us to make conversation about our gym and if we liked our current travel plans. It was very nice to make conversation with them. As we left Ashley and I both agreed we would definitely come back the next time visiting Annapolis.
So if any Intrepids happen to be in the D.C. or Annapolis area, please be sure to make time and WOD at District Crossfit and Crossfit Annapolis. Both are very welcoming to drop-ins and make the time to chat to new faces. This was our first time working out away from Intrepid so although it was unfamiliar territory it is very nice to know that there are other high quality gyms out there.
“Capture the Ball”
Two teams compete to get as many points as possible. Points are acquired by completing a given task (ie 10 burpees) first and running to grab the ball from the box before opposite team does.
I love bugs. I find them fascinating and do my best to not cause them harm. My love for bugs started when I was little and would fill my pockets with them much to my mother’s dismay when she would empty out my pockets while doing the laundry and scream bloody murder! My love for bugs continued on as I got older and took an entomology class where I was able to study in detail, their classifications, various forms, life cycles, and environmental roles.
One insect that I took a particular interest in was the honey bee. They live in a matriarchal society where every bee has a job to do. In fact, bees are one of the hardest working insects. Not only are they the producers of honey, but they also go flower to flower pollinating our fruits and vegetables and other wild plants. Did you know bees are responsible for pollinating $15 billion a year in US crops? Everything from apples to oranges, avocados, almonds, broccoli and so many other food crops.
So what do you think would happen if we had no bees? Lower crop yields, increased production costs, and for the consumer, higher food costs. An alarm should be going off right now in your heads! Scary to imagine how the demise of this tiny insect could affect the world’s food sources. And yet, this is exactly what’s been happening. Bee population is on the decline by millions and scientists can’t figure out why. Researchers have termed this rapid bee decline Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and it’s been popping up all over the news.
The documentary, “Vanishing of the Bees” follows David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes, commercial beekeepers from Florida, and takes you from the discovery of CCD to possible causes like systemic pesticides, parasites, and monocultures of crops. They also compare similar CCD situations in France where government officials banned systemic pesticides 10 years ago. While the film points out that there is still has not been one particular cause for CCD, it does give suggestions on how you can help at home. You can watch the film on Netflix or go to vanishingbees.com where you can do a pay-per-view screening.
So how else can you help at home?
- Choosing organic produce, reduce pesticide use at home, plant a garden, create a habitat for bees, visit honeylove.org – a non profit that educates and mentors those interested in becoming urban beekeepers (They’ll also be at the upcoming Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles on May 18-19.)
Sean posted about the Trigger Point Myofascial Compression Techniques (MCT) course that a few of us attended last Saturday. As he said, we all learned a ton and immediately experienced the benefits of the technique. Over the next four Thursdays the trainers will be reviewing the primary areas to focus on, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Now you ask, “what’s this myofascia stuff that we’re now focusing on?” Fascia is a fiberous connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, organs, blood vessels, etc. Myo refers to your muscular system, so myofascia specifically refers to the fascia around your muscles. The myofascia allows the mscle fibers to easily glide past each other, as well as the blood vessels and nerves within the muscles. They also transmit movement from the muscle to the bone. To get an idea what it looks like, think about the last time you cut up a raw chicken breast. The fascia is the thin, almost translucent, slimy layer that’s very tough and hard to cut off. When the myofascia is healthy, it’s very elastic and soft like you’ve seen on a chicken breast. Healthy fascia allows the muscles to contract and lengthen without restriction. When the myofascia is unhealthy, the muscles become inelastic like a rope and it can no longer rebound from a lengthening or contracting movement. What leads to unhealthy myofascia? Here are a few examples:
- Injury or inflammation
- Repetitive movement
- Dehydration and nutrition
- Poor posture
- Immobility (such as sitting at a desk all day long)
The fascia in your body is continuous and 100% connected, which is why sometimes when you injure one area of your body, another area of your body may be affected and you’ll feel the pain there instead/too. When your myofascia is damaged or becomes unhealthy it can lead to muscle pain, headaches, recurring injuries, back and neck pain, numbness, and poor posture/flexibility. The trigger point techniques that you’ll be learning in the new few weeks works by applying compression to specific areas that will obstruct blood flow to that location, then once compression is released it allows blood to rush back to the area. Blood carries oxygen and other important nutrients, so this compression technique brings what’s needed for health to targeted areas. The Trigger Point technique works from the ground up, so this week you’ll be starting with the area below the knee and revealing the differences before and after treatment.