4 Ways to Save Your Joints

When you are dedicated to your training and putting in the hours to achieve your goals then there is nothing more frustrating than joint pain and inflammation. It almost feels like your body is punishing you for working hard. No fair, right!

Rather than make excuses about your pain or backing off on your training you may want to consider some new techniques to mitigate the damage from these patterns of overuse.

1. Focus on form
2. Make intensity your new volume
3. Recover Harder
4. Hit the Supplements Aisle

1.Focus on form
If you are training often and hard then even the slights inefficiencies in your movement can turn into nagging injuries over time. Before you put in all that hard work you owe it to yourself to work with an experienced coach to refine your movement. You will make progress faster and stay healthy in the process. Slow down, not every day is a competition.

2. Make intensity your new volume
Sometimes the body simply needs a break from volume. All athletes in any sport go through periods of alternating intensity and volume throughout the year. They have different rhythms and protocols for preseason, in-season, post-season, and off-season training. Try backing off on the volume of your training and focusing on higher intensity pieces instead. For lifters, this could mean performing fewer sets or reps and using a higher load, shorter rest times, or a faster tempo. Runners might try lower mileage with weeks and adding a sprint workout 1-2 times per week instead.

3. Recover Harder
Training hard without the proper recovery techniques is bound to beat you up and becomes unsustainable long term. Make time for massage, foam rolling, stretching, yoga or mobility sessions, sleep, and any other recovery methods that can improve your performance. Sometimes the most beneficial thing you can do is stimulate your parasympathetic nervous with these recovery techniques to let your body’s natural healing mechanisms kick in.

4. Give your body what it needs to repair itself
There are tons of great supplements that can help with joint health. Fish oil and omega 3’s provide a healthy inflammatory response in the body amongst many other health benefits. Glucosamine and Chondroitin provide the building blocks for joint repair. Tart Cherry Juice extract has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after a workout. Give those a try to start!

Don’t let joint pain stop you from moving and doing the things you love!

3 Exercises to Fix your Lower Back Pain

The body thrives on balance. Our muscles and joints are happiest when they are getting equal and total range of motion. The spine is no different and since it’s range of motion is smaller than most other joints, imbalances can be felt more intensely.

The spine requires the stability of the supporting muscles that surround it to keep up upright and mobile. When a link in this system is weak, the body will compensate in order to expend the least amount of energy. 

A common issue seen causing that dreaded lower back is due to tight hip flexors, tight spinal erectors, accompanied by weak abs and glutes, also referred to as the lower cross syndrome. The tightness of the body in one area causes another area of the body to become weak. 

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Buddhist Proverb

 

So how do you fix or prevent this? Here are three things you can do today to make sure your glutes are firing, your core is tight, and your hips and back muscles stay strong but supple.

  1. Single leg glute bridges, to strengthen the core & glutes. Aim for 3 sets of 15 on each side. Plant the bottom of your feet and palms firmly on the floor. Stack knees above ankles. Lift one foot off the ground and perform a single glute bridge with the other, pressing firmly into your palms, shoulders, and foot to take any pressure off the neck. Try to get the hips as high as possible, then lower to the ground.
  2. Couch Stretch, loosen the tight hip flexors Aim for 2 minutes on each side. Using a couch or a bench, get into a low lunge in front of your object of choice, and the goal of this stretch is to use the front leg to support your weight as you put your back foot on a couch or bench and get your knee as close to the couch or bench as possible to stretch the hip of the back leg.  
  3. Supine single-leg twists to loosen the tight muscles in the lower back.

Lay on your back, hands out to a T, and legs together, bring your right knee up to your chest and let it fall to the left side of your body. Try to keep the spine stacked in a straight line. Repeat on the left leg, bringing left knee to chest then letting it fall to your right, knee resting on the ground or a block. Spend at least a minute on each side.

Incorporate these exercises and stretches into your routine to help ease and prevent lower back pain. As always if anything causes pain, don’t do it and always consult your doctor before trying new things.

Stop Doing It For The ‘Gram

More and more often these days we encounter folks living life through the lens of their smartphone. Ever since becoming a social influencer turned into a real career it has become increasingly difficult to know what is real and what is staged. Not only that, but how often are you interrupting your own life in order to capture a moment that is sure to get you attention on social media. Is it really worth it though? Stop and ask yourself…

How many beautiful sunrises get missed?

How many meals are really tasted and enjoyed?

How often do you dance just to let loose and blow off some steam?

Knowing that any, most, or all of what you do is being captured on camera changes the way you act. Every birthday party is a performance. Brunch is a photo shoot. A relaxing hike is #themountainsarecalling.

John Muir is rolling over in his grave.

This is not an article to just hate on people making a living off of instagram. It’s to bring awareness to the fact that what you see on Instagram is NOT real life. What you see most folks doing is playing a character in their own life. Showing a highlight reel that contains the settings, outfits, and activities they want you to see.

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is The Enemy says it well.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.

Social media can be great for learning, sharing, and capturing memories. Just know that it is usually the opposite of social and it can often take away from the moment to pull out your phone.

You are worth so much more than likes and comments. Don’t get it twisted.

And if you do, be sure to tag us 😉

@hubcitycrossfit

Work, Play, Compete, or Live Forever

If you are thinking about trying out a new training routine it’s important for you to consider your goals versus the goals of the program.

Most folks who participate in CrossFit and other HIIT styles of training may not know or understand the different styles of training available and who they might be best for. Some gyms offer a wide variety of classes to address the different needs of their members while others pride themselves on a particular specialty.

Put some thought into which camp you fall into when selecting a training program and you’ll be most likely to maximize your results and achieve your goals. Most folks fall into one of 4 camps.

1.Work
2.Play
3.Compete
4.Live Forever

Work
Let’s start with folks who train for work. They may have physically demanding jobs that require their bodies to perform for the execution of the job or to keep them safe. Law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel, and members of the armed forces all need to be in shape to keep them safe and performing at a high level. Other folks may have physically demanding jobs that require them to have strength and endurance for. Maintaining a high level of fitness let’s construction workers, landscapers, loggers, and other active professionals do better at work.

If you fall into this category it is important you find a training routine that supports your job performance. Workouts should be varied and keep you balanced. It’s also important that the workouts address the demands you will face on the job to help prevent injuries. Beware training programs that overwork you and leave sore or unable to perform your daily duties.

Play
If you fall into this category you know the importance of getting daily exercise, but you want it to be as fun as possible. Training should be engaging and allow you to connect with others who have the same goals as you do. You may lose interest doing the same routine over and over again so it’s important that you find a training program that mixes things up and keeps you engaged.

Compete
You train to make you better at a particular sport. Whether your sport is running, biking, skiing, soccer, or even CrossFit your training routine should be specific to the activity you are trying to excel in. Workouts need to consistently train the movements patterns you will experience in your sport to improve performance and reduce injury risk.
A great coach will know the volume of training needed to help you improve and how to plan out a training schedule for preseason, in-season, and off-season training cycles. Make sure you are training for the demands of the sport and not just following a powerlifting or bodybuilding program that doesn’t line up with your goals.

Live Forever
You train because you know it’s important for health and wellness. You’re not looking to compete but to enjoy your life and your family. You may not have a physically demanding job so you need a balance of cardiovascular and resistance training to keep you feeling good and moving well. You may also be looking for nutrition advice and other best practices to ensure you have a long and high functioning life.

If you fall into this category make sure you are training with the minimum effective dose in mind. You should leave most training sessions better than you went in.

Want to get started training, but still not sure how? Talk to one of our coaches about which of our programs might be best for you and we can answer all of your questions!

Choose an Environment that Supports You

The environment you place yourself in is arguably the most important decision you can make at any given moment. The actions the environment supports will shape your life and the decisions that you make. Sounds like a big statement but let’s think about it for a minute. Compare a few different potential options of environments you could spend your day in.

On one hand, you could spend your day throwing around heavy weights and being bold, focused and confident in an activity like weightlifting or CrossFit. Think about how you feel after lifting a barbell, or doing pull-ups. How do you feel? Maybe strong, determined, more powerful?

Now let’s consider another way your day’s activity could go. You go to a yoga class where you focus on your breath. Stillness and peace is a common feeling people get. You’re stretching, creating space. Think about how different that feels from the weightlifting you would do at the gym. The feelings you experience from doing yoga may be uplifting, and open. The gestures your and stretches you take your body through in a slowed down type of activity like yoga impacts the way your brain perceives your life.

Let’s analyze a third option. You go to an old friend’s house. You end up sitting on the couch having a few drinks and snacking. You watch a mindless TV show while your friends complains about work and how unhappy they are at their job.

Which experience do you think will make you grow? Which environment will contribute to the person you want to be?

Ding. Ding. Ding. It’s an easy choice right?!

“Surround yourself with people who remind you more of your future than your past.”
-Dan Sullivan

Put simply, you become what you do. Your body communicates who you are to your brain. If you spend your time doing hard work and lifting heavy weights, you start to think how strong you are and how you can do hard things. This will translate into your life. You become the type of person who is strong and can do hard things. In a place like yoga, or maybe running outside, you may experience those feelings of freedom, space and peace. You become a person who experiences these things.

It’s incredible how much our body’s influence how we think. Activity is so important to everyday life. The next time you’re working out, whatever activity it is that you choose, notice the messages your body sends your mind. Feeling weak in your life, like you can’t do anything right? Get under a barbell and do some hard shit. Feeling like you need more space in your life? Try some yoga or running. With your body as a tool you can create the environment you most need in your life.

 

-Hub City Coaches and 321Go!

How To Optimize Your Warmup And Cooldown Routines

Warmups and cooldowns are an essential part of training and should be given as much thought and effort as the workout itself. In fact if you’re short on time you are better off going through a proper warmup, mobilization, and stretching session than to try to get a quick workout in while skipping those other components. Let’s take a look at why these components of training and see why each one is so important and how you can optimize it.

  • Warmup
  • Mobilization
  • Cooldown
  • Stretching

Warmup
Your warmup prepares your body and mind for that day’s training. Not every day is the same and your warmup is specific to that. When planning and executing the warmup you need to consider which energy system your body will be utilizing. A max rep back squat requires very different preparation than a conditioning session with double-unders and wall balls. The warmup helps to elevate heart rate, stimulate the nervous system, and optimize the function of the tissues and motor patterns you will be training that day. This will reduce your injury risk and optimize your ability to perform. 
If you are someone who enjoys chatting during the warmup or never quite breaks a sweat then I want to challenge you to dial it up a notch. Give your warmup 100% of your effort next class and see what I mean. If you are giving your best effort in the general and specific warm-up drills you will notice a huge difference in your ability to recruit and activate muscles. This will allow you to move with better form. The efficiency of moving with better form allows to lift more weight and improve your fitness. Isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place… 🙂
Mobilization
Human movement patterns can be broken down into a few broad and overarching groups like squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, rotate and walk. When you mobilize before a workout you are addressing 
Sometimes you will accomplish mobilization through a dynamic warm-up. Taking your joints through an increasing range of motion in order to prepare them for the rigors of the workout. Sometimes you will slow down and target specific tissues through foam rolling, flossing, or distraction techniques with a band. 
Let’s say the day’s workout is to build up to a heavy single deadlift. The first step is to consider what movement patterns will be involved. In this case, the deadlift involves a hinge as the primary movement pattern. You want to make sure that your back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings are well oiled and firing before you start touching a barbell. 
Cooldown
The cooldown can and should involve more than making sweat angels on the floor. The goal is to ensure continuous blood flow to remove the toxins and metabolites that have built up during your training session. By continuing to move after a workout you are actually improving your recovery and setting the tone for your next training session. Hopping on a bike or rower for 10:00 minutes and moving at an easy conversational pace can be a total game-changer in the way you feel the next day. This habit can be hard to do at first. Instead of laying on the floor until you crush your protein shake and head out the door you will develop mental toughness by challenging your body to keep moving. There are huge dividends to this and you will notice improvements in your recovery each day and reduced soreness.
Stretching
After your cooldown incorporating stretching and additional mobilization techniques into your routine is essential to optimize recovery and performance in your next workout. When you perform an exercise your body is in “fight or flight” mode. There is a huge shift that occurs during your stretching and rolling session where your body switches back into a parasympathetic or “rest and digest” state. Stretching muscles has been shown to temporarily improved range of motion and will help you when you go to tie your shoes the next morning. By focusing on breathing and moving your tight and sore muscles you are helping to establish homeostasis and you will feel much better for the rest of the day. This is a great practice to repeat again later in the day before bed, especially if you are someone who has trouble shutting off at night and unwinding.
Today we looked at why it is so important to optimize the warmup, mobilization, cooldown, and stretching. We all love to go hard in the workout, but by focusing on improving in these areas is really how you will start to see results!

Eat to Thrive, Not Survive

There are a lot of areas in life where “good enough” can be the goal. Ultimately you have a finite amount of time on this planet and if a task is not important to you then you want to outsource it or put in the minimum effective dose of effort so you can move on with your day. 

There are also many areas where you should put in your very best work. When it comes to movement,  you want to be strong and pain-free. When you do your taxes you ensure that they are accurate and timely. When you spend time with the ones you love you put the phone away and are fully present in the moment. 

One area that often gets the “good enough” treatment is your diet and nutrition. When life gets busy or making healthy choices becomes inconvenient the spectrum of foods you consume tends to take a dive in quality. Rather than let slide occur in favor of other activities that seem more important, you may find it worth your while to optimize your diet and nutrition.

Here’s why: 
Even if the doctor says you are healthy, you are happy with the way you look, and you can’t stand cooking – nutrition is one area that literally transcends into ALL areas of your life. 
If you only ever aim for the minimum in your diet then you are capping your maximum potential in how much you can lift, creatively solve problems, and even love your family. 
We often treat food as an activity that gets scheduled into the day. Food breaks up the workday and provides structure in the evening. It is a social affair with the family or a way to do business. 

The foods you consume during the day are the driving force behind all of this. They not only provide the immediate nutrients needed to fuel your physical and mental performance but are also the long term building blocks for every cell in your body. Every bite you chew or sip you take is going to be broken down into the amino acids that build your muscles and organs. The fats and oils become the cell walls that handle communication between cells in your body and control processes like your immune system function and inflammatory response. The vitamins and minerals will help your body create the energy it needs to keep you moving and eliminating toxins from your body. Food should really be considered medicine. Thus, nutrition interventions can have a great impact on overall health and change the course of disease processes.

Scientists have even found links between our gut bacteria and neurological disease. The foods you are eating today and the way your prioritize diet could determine your likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. 
The way you choose to eat is affecting the way you live, both today and 40 years from now. If you want to be your best self for your family, your career, and the things you care about accomplishing in life then taking care of your nutrition is not a “nice to have”. It’s a must.

Not sure where to get started? Start by having a conversation with one of our coaches today and schedule body composition testing.  See if you are fueling to sustain exercise or adding to body fat. 

 

Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?

If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.

 

In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs and minimal staffing. Granted  how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.

 

“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR

 

The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.

 

Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes  are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.

 

These communities succeed when the all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun 😉

 

Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”

 

These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.

 

If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.

 

If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour long workout.

 

If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.

 

If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!

 

To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

The Power of Choice

Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of  summer… in 2012.

 

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

 

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

 

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

 

And life goes on.

 

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

 

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

 

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

 

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

 

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

 

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

 

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

 

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

 

So what are you going to do?

 

[GYM OWNER:] Add a call to action here, like: “Schedule your Free Consult here” with a link.

WOD 4.11

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