The Magic Pill

by Michael Plank

There’s a whole lot in this day and age that we can get immediately, or dang-close to it. Things are becoming more convenient by the day. Grocery pick-up! Same-day delivery! It is a magical time to be alive. But when so much of what we want is available at our fingertips, it can be frustrating when health and wellness don’t come quite as easily… or maybe that’s not quite right.

Maybe it’s not that building health and wellness is difficult, it’s that it can be slow. Because the truth is that there actually is a magic pill of sorts for weight loss, strength gain, and biomarker improvement.

Consistency.

That’s it. That’s the whole secret. You don’t have to workout for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week; you don’t have to completely cut out all carbohydrates and processed foods; you don’t have to engage in monumental, herculean efforts. You just have to keep going. Consistent mediocrity will beat sporadic excellence every time.

And really, that’s a huge part of what we do as coaches: we help our members stay consistent. You probably don’t need to learn about what foods are good for you, you probably don’t need to learn that lifting more weight makes you stronger; what you need is to know that every week, someone is waiting for you, and excited to see you show up to work out like you said you would. Every week, someone is checking in to be sure you’re still good with creative ideas for those 2 servings of vegetables you planned on. Every week, someone is in your corner, helping you to not just do what will help you, but helping you want to do what will help you.

Because then you’ll be consistent. And then you’ll get results. And it’s as simple as that. Magic pill.

Managing Injury

by Brittany Gillis

Injuries can happen anywhere. They can come from a trauma to your body like a car accident, or even something as small as bending over to tie your shoe. Injuries have a broad spectrum of severity. Some are super easy to fix, and some require surgery. Either way, injuries are something that get in the way of our everyday life and can affect our mental health as well. So what do we do when we get an injury, and what are some ways we can recover? 

I have had a few injuries in the past that were minor and easily fixed by resting. Recently, my job has been extremely demanding. I work as an ER tech. Busy days, and 12 hours nonstop at a busy ER lead to sore feet, legs and back. Thinking that it was just a busy few days, I went home, took a hot bath and tried to rest as much as I could on my days off. After a busy Friday, on Saturday we helped my dad move some really heavy furniture. When we were done, I could feel that my back was super tight. I went home and again got into a hot bath and took some ibuprofen. A few days later, I still felt super sore and tight. I thought that maybe I needed to go to the gym since it has been a hot minute since I worked out. During the workout, I could feel my back light up but I kept pushing through even though I knew better. I didn’t go heavy or hard, but what I was doing was irritating it.

The next day I was down for the count. I could not sleep, I was barely able to get out of bed and had a hard time walking. OH NO…. Now what? I went to work and saw my NP who took me out of work, gave me prednisone and sent me on my way. After about two weeks I was starting to feel better!! Thank God!

Wrong. The prednisone was just masking the injury. Now back to square one, I was frustrated and angry. I was angry that I had this injury that completely took me out of training in the gym, doing activities with my kids and even cleaning my house. I lost control of my eating and emotions. I was so frustrated. I called the doctor and he advised me that I needed Physical Therapy and patience. (Haven’t I been patient enough? Not even close.) After starting therapy, I was starting to feel a little better but still angry that it wasn’t a “quick” fix. Well after listening to a podcast episode on accepting where you are, I realized that being angry at having an injury is not gonna make it go away. I had to accept where I was and do what I could. So switching that mindset, I started working on mobility. Not only was that helping my back but mobility is a HUGE part of training in the gym.

It has now been 8 weeks with this injury. It is slowly getting better but what do I do when I am 100% better? Should I jump right back in to doing a 290 deadlift or a quick Fran? No. Easing back in is the best way to recover. Building back up muscles and strength you have lost over the time you lost from an injury is only going to help your current recovery and also help prevent you from becoming injured again. 

Although we would like to think we can jump right back where we left off after an injury, it is super important that you take it slow and ease your way back in. Mobility, rest, talking to your coach, scaling workouts and listening to your body are great ways to help recover and get you back to training!

Macros: Yea or Nay?

by Aimee Wojtowecz

IIFYM

No it’s not some secret cult, it’s the acronym for the “If It Fits Your Macros” movement. The premise being that the path to health and fitness relies solely on counting macronutrients: weighing and measuring everything before it passes your lips.

As nutritionists we often get asked about tracking, journaling, counting macros or “points”; whatever label you want to put on it, what it comes down to is accountability. Tracking our foods can absolutely be a useful tool, but maybe not in the ways you expect. There are many reasons to track that aren’t just about calories. You can track protein, fat or carbohydrate intakes, maybe you’re watching your sodium levels and need to track that, or you’re tracking your vitamin and mineral intake to make sure that you’re getting all the needed nutrients. You can track the QUALITY of the foods you’re taking in because maybe you’re trying to cut back on processed foods or maybe you are indeed tracking the calories as a means to reach your goals; not because those calories somehow increase or decrease your value as a human being but because you’re an athlete with goals that sometimes require certain calories.

The important takeaway here is that we want to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and sometimes tracking can be a beneficial tool for that but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes tracking can lead to an obsession with food, or “clean eating”, or alter our relationship with exercise. If you know that tracking isn’t for you but you want to stay on track with your training and nutrition plan, what do you do when everyone is screaming at you that you must count macros?

Keep. It. Simple. 

We often recommend the plate method (1/2 plate non-starchy veggies, 1/4 lean meat and 1/4 complex carb) as a way to estimate portions and make sure that you are balancing meals with a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, while also ensuring that you get plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. It’s simple and effective. But if that seems overwhelming, start even simpler. Try starting by including a vegetable at most meals and snacks. Or start by having a single glass of water with every meal and snack.

You can make massive improvements to your health and fitness with the smallest of steps when it comes to your nutrition and as we all know, nutrition is the foundation upon which our fitness is built.

Who’s On Your Team?

by Michael Plank

The self-made man? Self-made woman? It’s a myth. Or at least not something aspirational. The best performers in athletics, business, finance, military, you name it… all have teams. Even in individual sports, athletes have mindset coaches, strength coaches, hitting coaches, and fielding coaches.

When people join our gym, our goal – in short – is to make their lives better. We help them do that with fitness (which includes nutrition). But fitness is only one piece of the puzzle. There’s also faith. There’s also family. There are also friendships. There’s also psychology.

We’ve already talked about how valuable coaching is, and complete health involves fitness coaching for sure. But it also probably involves a spiritual advisor, and solid family relationships (biological or not), and friends in whom you can confide, and a therapist, and a doctor, and a financial advisor.

What we encourage people to do (and what we’re encouraging you to do as you’re reading this right now) is to build your team. The different areas of your life have different needs. (As much as I love hearing how meaningful our gym is for people, the truth is that CrossFit is not therapy. Therapy is therapy.) Get your fitness coach, your spouse (or siblings or parents or cousins), your best friend(s), your spiritual advisor, your therapist, your doctor, and your financial advisor. Tell them what you need and then let them help you.

It can seem like an overwhelming project, but the great news is that once you get those people lined up, it means that you don’t have to do it all yourself. You are only as smart as your own brain. And when you can get other brains in the mix, whole new worlds can open up to you. Those people who can help you are out there. And when you get your team in line, magic can happen.

(PS Obviously we’d love to help you with your fitness coaching. And we’ll put in a plug here for a great therapist too).

How a Coach Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster

by Michael Plank

Maybe more than ever before, people are realizing how incredibly important good health is. Even before COVID-19, rising rates of chronic disease were causing doctors to raise alarms all over the world. Basically everyone knows that to be healthy (or healthier), you need to move your body and give it nutritious food. But if that’s all it takes, why do people still struggle?

There’s no shortage of information out there. A Google search for “how to get healthy” will return over a billion results. The trick is sorting through the information to find what next step will have the biggest impact for youand then (and this is the really important part) actually doing it.

And that’s where coaches come in. A good coach will get to know you, what your goals are, and what makes you tick. A good coach knows the techniques needed to accomplish goals, but just as importantly knows how to simplify that knowledge to give you only what you actually need to do right now.

Imagine that you’re driving cross country to a place you’ve never been. Your coach is your navigator; the person in the passenger seat who has the map. But she doesn’t say “Take 197 to 9S to 87S to 90W to 80W…” She says “In one mile, turn Left on Bridge Street.” Now you could for sure just get in the car and keep heading west and you’d get there eventually. But having a navigator will make that journey a lot shorter and a lot less frustrating.

That’s what you need. You don’t need more information (you probably need less), you just need the right information: the thing that you need to do that you actually will do. A coach will help you see that. And what that really means for you is that those goals you want to reach will come a whole lot faster.

Goals are Overrated

by Michael Plank

I recently heard a podcast with Simon Sinek where he talked about his book The Infinite Game. He talked about the concept of Finite Games and Infinite Games, and it was a lightbulb moment for me.

Finite Games are games where there are defined players, defined rules, and a defined desired outcome (think of any organized sport). Infinite Games, by contrast, are games where the players change, the rules change, and there’s no definite desired outcome because there’s no defined end; the goal isn’t to win, it’s to keep the game going as long as possible.

Exercise is an Infinite Game. You don’t win at exercise. You don’t finish the discipline we call exercise. Exercise is something you do forever so that you’re healthy and strong. Now, we do set Finite Games within the Infinite Game of exercise. And that’s what goals are. So we might say: “I want to be able to do 30 squats in a minute by August 1st.” There are defined players (you), defined rules (number of squats in a minute), and a defined desired outcome (30 squats in a minute by August 1st). If you achieve that goal, you get a big dopamine hit. You feel good about yourself, if you’re at our gym we put up a picture of you and cheer for you, and it’s great.

If you don’t achieve that goal, you know what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing! You don’t get kicked out of the gym. You don’t fail at exercise. You don’t get weaker. Your parents don’t stop loving you. Your friends don’t abandon you. Nothing happens! Because exercise is an Infinite Game.

Goals are important. We’re doing Goal Review sessions with members all the time. They can be inspiring and motivating and useful in making progress. But, like with everything, there’s a dichotomy. When you achieve your goal, celebrate it; tell your friends, post about it, soak up that great feeling. But when you miss your goal (and if you do this long enough, you will miss goals), don’t worry too much about it. Because the game goes on.