Where's your gainz, yo?

The alarm rings and your first move is checking the WOD.  It’s #PRweek and you see a 1RM Snatch attempt!  You have worked hard on snatches and overhead squats during the cycle and hopefully your hard work pays off!  You didn’t sleep that well after eating a bag of Dick’s Burgers right before bed.  You grab a cup of coffee and a muffin on your way to work.  After an hour at your desk you are starving, but you see someone brought in donuts so you are saved.  As you chow the donut you are thinking of the snatch drills and patience in the first pull.  PR today FOR SURE!

Work gets busy and before you know it, lunchtime has come and gone.  You didn’t bring anything, but you have some jerky at your desk and grab some nuts from the break room along with more coffee to wake up and finish the day.  Finally work is over and you grab another cup of coffee for the drive.  You think speed through the middle all the way to the gym.  You don’t feel as fresh as you would like, but it’s probably just jitters before a big lift.  The work window starts and you get a couple warm-up snatches in that feel OK.  Time to ramp it up!  You hit another snatch a 5# below your previous 1RM.  Your legs are a little weak, but you stand it up.  Time to go for it!  You load up a PR attempt and think punch under the bar.  Miss…. miss…. bad miss and time is up. 

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You are really upset.  You practiced, you came every week for snatch work and you visualized the moves.  WHAT HAPPENED??  You go through the motions during the WOD with a lack of desire and no energy.  You go home and have a nice salad with some chicken.  Maybe next cycle you will PR.

We all work hard in the gym and try to get better every time we are there.  Training can be fun and rewarding, but on it’s own it will not make you healthy or fit.  One hour at the gym will not undo 23 hours of bad habits.  You need adequate nutrition!  Often overlooked or underestimated, proper nutrition is the true foundation of health and fitness.  CrossFit places nutrition at the base of the health and fitness pyramid and Coach Glassman says “practicing CrossFit without any regard to nutrition if similar to having one oar in the water”.

Our sample athlete set up for failure all day long.  Motivation was high, but lack of adequate nutrition left their body weak and not ready for the task at hand.  And while the late meal was a better attempt, it isn’t enough to make up for the lack of nutrition during the day or allow full recovery after training.  Getting enough protein through the day allows your body to build, heal, and defend itself.  Healthy fats keep the signals going, keep hormones working and keep our cells happy.  Carbohydrates fuel our performance and keep our muscles ready for action.  Without nutrition your body is a racecar being fueled with watered down gas.  Good luck winning the race like that!  Let’s see what happens when our athlete is properly fueled.

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The alarm goes off.  You slept great after a healthy dinner and some Casein protein before bed.  Keeping these healthy nutrition habits going since the last Nutrition Challenge is really paying off and you feel great this morning.  You are going to PR your snatch for sure!  The fridge is full of food you meal prepped earlier in the week.  You have some fresh vegetable juice and pack your lunch, afternoon snack and pre-workout fruit.  You warm up your breakfast and head to work thinking patience in the first pull.  At work you have one cup of coffee and get things done.  Someone brought donuts, but you are full from breakfast so no worries.  Work gets busy, but you know you have to eat.  Luckily you have a nice lunch salad with veggies, chicken, quinoa and some avocado that you eat while working.  During an afternoon break you eat your Greek yogurt and some carrot and pepper sticks.  Before you know it, work is done!

You eat your fruit and a little coffee on the way to the gym focusing on speed through the middle.  Your body feels good as you warm up.  You have a little sweat going and a bounce in your step.  Let’s DO THIS!  You feel strong and snappy as you work up to 90% of your 1RM.  It goes down easy.   You go for 5# over your previous 1RM and nail it with 3 minutes left on the clock.  You focus in more and add 10# to the bar.  After a good rest you address the bar, set-up for the lift and say punch under the bar to yourself.  Its heavy but you get under it… a little shimmy but all good… stand it up… BOOM!!!  As the work window ends, you walk over and ring the bell after a well earned 15# PR!!  The WOD is a blast after that and you race your buddy right to the end.  Great gym sesh and now home to celebrate!  Homemade spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies and lean protein over some pasta and a colorful salad.  You can’t wait to work out again tomorrow!!

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Nutrition can be the difference between success and failure, heath and sickness, PR’s and plateaus.  It is important and deserves your attention.  Ask questions, commit to a nutrition challenge or get coaching to help you meet your goals.  It’s not easy, but with some focus and effort you will develop proper habits that turn it into a lifestyle.  Before long you will have a strong foundation for your fitness by optimizing your nutrition.

-Coach Aaron H

Why Do We Wear CrossFit Shoes???

Not just for looks, CrossFit-specific shoes actually help you to perform well in the Sport of Fitness. Below some points as to why this is the case and a quick lo-down on your options:

  • A sport-specific shoe matters!! Often, we see newer CrossFit athletes wearing running shoes to class. While awesome for running, these aren’t always helpful for WODs.

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  • When running, you need a more shock absorbent shoe.  Because of this, these shoes often have a softer material which makes up the sole.  When you are trying to lift weight and pressing feet into the floor, a lot of energy can be lost through this unstable base due to the physics principle of ground reaction force.
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This principle comes from Newton's 3rd law which essentially states that if a force acts upon a body, an equal and opposite force must act upon another body.

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If you press weight overhead and the vector of your force is going down into the ground, the ground will essentially press back.  If you are wobbling around on squishy shoes and too far forward on your toes, the reactionary force of the ground will push you forward and your barbell will likely move forward causing a missed lift or causing you to have to chase after it.  If you are able to control this weight, you will likely be scrunching your toes and arches forcefully trying to control the movement which can lead to arch problems like plantar fasciitis. Basically, if you weightlift in jogging shoes, you will feel like you are lifting weights on the beach with a big portion of your energy wasted right into the soft sand.

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  • Most CrossFit WODs will require some combo of jumping/running and lifting so the CrossFit-specific training shoes offer a combination of a solid firm base and flexibility where needed. The also have features which are designed to make things like rope climbs and handstand pushups a bit easier.

  • Additionally, durability is important to note. Subject a regular running shoe to a few weeks of CrossFit and you will witness those shoes break down real fast. CrossFit shoes are built to take the beating of the types of workouts and movements you are performing: jumping, running, burpees, rope climbs, weight lifting, KB swings, handstands, etc. A durable, stable shoe will help decrease the chance of injury.  

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The more fatigued you get during a grueling workout, the greater your chance of misstep or loss of form. CrossFit is chock-full of complex moves that require a lot of balance and these sport-specific shoes can be very helpful in mitigating injury-risk. They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to the knee and ankle joints during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.

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Next time you find yourself asking the questions “Why CrossFit shoes?” or “Are CrossFit shoes worth the price?” remember that shoes are designed for specific purposes all the time and CrossFit is no different. You ski in a ski boot, hike in a hiking boot, dance in a ballet slipper, and run in a running shoe. Now, you can justify looking the part because its important that you WOD in a CrossFit shoe!

-Coach Sarah