The Glassman Chipper: Week 34 "Team Workouts"

Though each person chooses to pursue their higher level fitness on their own, the efficacy and espirit de corps created by a training as part of a "team" was something that CrossFit was not specifically addressing.  Week 34 "Team Workouts" fills the void.  

The Glassman Chipper: Week 31 "Functionality & Wall Ball"

Argument: CrossFit's definition of functional relies more on irreducibility and universality of motor recruitment than the alternatives, which better resemble rehabilitation and "core" auxiliary work.  Coach Glassman explores the idea that functional movements performed at high intensity can yield a cardiorespiratory response greater than that of mono-structural conditioning activities.  For example: The CrossFit WOD is programmed to provide you more benefit than a long slow bike ride (unless you are training for a long slow bike ride).

The Glassman Chipper: Week 28 "The Clean"

The Glassman Chipper: Week 28 "The Clean"

In Week 28 of the Glassman Chipper challenge, Coach Glassman discusses The Clean.  Simply put "moving a load (in the Olympic sense, a barbell) from at rest on the ground, to the shoulders."  Attempts to refine this movement technique as an athlete and/or a coach prove that "putting it simply" and "executing it simply" are at two opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Glassman Chipper: Week 27 "Metabolic Conditioning"

There is a lot going on in this article, but the key takeaways are: fast-explosive training done in appropriately programmed intervals can provide all of the "pros" of long-slow aerobic training AND CrossFit aims to build "powerful fast athletes," not slow, low powered, fuel-efficient athletes.

The Glassman Chipper: Week 24 "A Beginner's Routine"

The Week 24 Glassman Chipper article explains how 2003-era Coach Glassman would offer workout routine guidance to beginners with limited equipment.  In focusing on Walk/Jog/Run, Deadlift, Push Press, and Squat he generated a 12-week program that steadily increases athlete capability with high-payoff functional movements.

5 Foods to lose weight + thoughts

Yesterday Christine brought in about 1 million diet and recipe books, I love books especially recipe books. There were a couple I was excited to look at one was the JJ Virgin book. When I opened the book wow was I disappointed. First thought, who has time for this? Look I value my health and fitness over most things, this brings quality to my life and in a world that is at times overwhelming knowing I can rely on me taking care of my body is valuable. Second thought, disgusting! Why would I want to eat this crap? Third thought, diets suck.

This email showed up in my box today talking about using your must have foods to help you lose weight and not feel like you are on a diet. It was written by the Eat Stop Eat guy who I'm a big fan of his fasting and reverse taper protocols. He makes excellent points on how most diets suggest consuming too much protein as well as how dieting at low calories for extended periods of time can hurt your body contributing to that rebound in weight gain. Over the years I've used a lot of what I've learned about myself as well as others, for me being able to overeat some days and under eat others makes me happy, keeps me strong and maintains my body goals. 

Last thought before the email is if you are on a program made for bodybuilders and you are not taking PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) it is not healthy.  It is not okay for your hormones, and it will work but at what cost, your health. Trust me, if 70% of girls competing in bikini use PEDs how many others who we look at with the bodies we want do them. #noeggwhites #noricecakes #gross

From Eat Stop Eat. List the 5 foods you know you have to eat in order to stay sane and happy OR help you lose weight. They can be any combination of the daily things you eat that either:
A) support your weight loss efforts, or
B) You need to eat in order to NOT feel like you are on some crazy restrictive diet that is slowly ruining your life and making you a miserable person to be around ;)

Here’s my list:

1) Protein - I like to have around 100 grams a day (I explain why in How Much Protein), and without supplements this takes a little practice

2) Water - OK, not technically a food, but it helps keep my head clear and I can tell when I forget to drink enough.

3) Espresso in the morning - Probably the only thing that keeps me from committing terrible crimes

4) Guinness - Want to make me VERY aware that I am dieting? Then take this away from me. I don’t need a drink every night, but knowing I CAN have a pint if I WANT TO goes a long way in making responsible eating manageable.

5) Mint chocolate chip ice-cream - If I had to choose between having ice-cream or abs, I would go buy bigger pants right now. The ice-cream would win. Luckily, I don’t have to make that choice. I just have to keep the serving size realistic.

That’s my 5 foods. If I keep these in the rotation, then weight loss and weight maintenance are much easier for me. If I don’t keep these in check, then weight loss becomes difficult and I become miserable. I feel "restricted" which usually ends with me breaking down after a week or two, since I miss eating the foods and having the drinks I like the most.

I’d like you to take some time and identify your 5 foods.  They can be any combination of foods you feel you need while losing weight and foods you want in order to feel human.

Once you have your list of 5 foods, here’s what you do next.

Tally up the calories that come from your 5 foods. Feel free to round up.

For me this comes to:

1 - 100 grams of protein X 4 Calories per gram, plus a bunch of heavy rounding = 500 Calories
2 - Zero Calories
3 - Zero Calories
4 - 120 Calories, but I’ll round to 150 to be safe
5 - 250 Calories, but I’ll round to 350 to be safe.

Next subtract these calories from your daily calorie goal.

So my "must haves" come to 1,000 calories. This means I have anywhere from 800 to 1,400 calories every day for other food. And remember, it’s not like I have ice-cream and Guinness EVERY day, so sometimes this number is lower.

The bottom line is now I only have to worry about the other foods I eat in a day. And it’s much easier to be good knowing that the foods I really want to have, I’m allowed to have. No feeling deprived.

Identifying your "must haves" helps keep everything in perspective as you try to manage your weight.

How's That Working For You?

Nutrition is key in so many areas of life. With so many options of eating almost making it more confusing as to how we reach out goals, let's talk about three of the most important issues.

First, do you have a nutrient deficiency?If you are an athlete you are more likely to be deficient in iodine, vitamin d, zinc, vitamin e, calcium, and magnesium. Add to this if you are on one of the more popular diet plans vitamin b7, chromium, and molybdenum. Furthermore are you under stress you may need more protein and omega 3. 

Blood, saliva, and urine testing are ways to accurately see what is going on. Let's look at something a little easier as a starting point. 

Here are a few of the most common 

  1. Water (low-level dehydration) solution, you guessed it drink more water. 
  2. Vitamins and minerals solution, eat more variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals and supplement with absorbable minerals and vitamins.
  3. Protein particularly in woman and in men with low appetites solution eat more foods rich in protein.  How much protein do you actually need? Ask your coach.
  4. Essential fats solution, eat more good fats grass fed beef, fatty fish, algae oil coconut oil and or supplement with a whole food omega 3. 

Next how much are you putting into your piehole.

For example, men might begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at most meals; and
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at most meals.

And women might begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at most meals; and
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at most meals.

This can also be dependant on other factors. How is your digestion and gut health? How is your sleep?  What is your body type? Don't know ask your coach for help, we are here for you.

For 9 in 10 people, eliminating nutrient deficiencies and getting food portions right will make a huge difference in how they look and feel.

However, for those who want to go further – because they have more advanced goals or because they’re already doing the first two and still struggling – what is your food composition.

Last but not least meal frequency.

For years dietitians and nutritionists (myself included) thought that the best approach to splitting up your daily food intake was to eat small meals frequently throughout the day.

From early research, we assumed that this would speed up the metabolism, help control the hormones insulin and cortisol, and help better manage the appetite. However, we now know better.

All the latest research suggests that as long as we eat the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I find eating 2 meals per day works best for me. 

Always listen to your body, do a self-check in asking the question "How is that working for you?"

Remember we are here to help, ask the question, and when you feel like you are ready to make changes, don't overwhelm yourself with doing it all at once. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. When you are struggling don't give up let's problem solve. Realize fixing a long term gut issue or hormone imbalace can take months and the results can be profound. You deserve optimal health and we are here to help. Our staff is extremly knowlegable in many aspec of health with all our own experiences with self experimentation. 

Now Go Lift Something Heavy

How's your squat?

This morning I was scanning Youtube over a cup of coffee and come across this video:

This is pretty well in line with how we teach squats at Karma. I teach the squat from the ground up, so feet first with 8 "rules" most of which are negotiable.

The first 3 address the feet:

1. Feet about hip width apart -- (totally negotiable). Depending on what feels comfortable and natural. I personally squat pretty narrow. Coach Nicole tends to squat fairly wide. Katy (while re-taking a CrossFit course) actually had her knee tweak while being made to squat into the "cookie cutter" squat idea in this video.

2. Toes about 15 degrees out -- (totally negotiable). This falls in line with number 1, it may just feel a little better to toe-out more, but I will tie that to another point in a moment.

3. Weight in your heels/mid-foot -- (not negotiable). This has to do with how the muscles recruit how the knee gets loaded while squatting. The idea that squatting is bad for the knees isn't correct but squatting too far forward on your foot can be rough on the knees and needs to be avoided.

The next 2 address the knees:

4. The knee shouldn't extend past the toes -- (totally negotiable). This is a really common misconception with squatting, but it relates to #3 above. For many people the knee goes out past the toes because the are too far forward in their feet. And we already said that is a non-negotiable point, your weight needs to stay heel/mid-foot. If you have flexible ankles or are wearing weightlifting shoes or both your knee might well extend past your toes while keeping your weight back in your foot. If that's the case you're fine!

5. The knee tracks inline with the toes/point of shoe -- (not negotiable). So, many people might say "Well the Chinese lifters..." and yeah, I know. Basically the knee is a hinge, and hinges are not really meant to twist. If that doesn't make sense take the top hinge off of any door in your house and see how the bottom hinge holds up. In this video the doc refers to this as the joints being stacked. For long term knee health this matters.

The next 2 address the hip:

6. The hip should drop below the knee or "below parallel" depth -- (negotiable). This is really negotiable for new lifters mostly, eventually everyone should be working to that depth as it takes the hip through a full range of motion and will help keep the joint healthy. Besides that, how else our you going to poop while camping? If you're a new lifter and you can't get to that depth without breaking one of the non-negotiable rules above or without keeping your spine in a good position (more on that in a second) then chasing that depth might do more bad then good.

7. The hip should start the movement back and down (semi-negotiable). So this is really based on proximity to the spine. The brain communicates with the body though the spine so body parts closer to the spine get the information first and should move first. This is really what is meant by "core" it has nothing to do with having a six-pack set of abs! The reason I say semi-negotiable is in part because nerve impulses are electricity and that moves fast enough that the time from your hip to knee is basically irrelivant and a good squat often looks like the movement is happening simultaneously. However, and especially in CrossFit, most people come in squatting pretty badly so if you exagerate the movement of your hips back you are less likely to break the non-negotiable rule about weight distribution in your foot from above. It is an over-correction to teach it this way, but as long as it is smoothed out as the squatting motion matures that's fine.

The last one addresses the lumbar spine:

8. Keep your back straight (non-negotiable). First off, staight isn't the same as vertical. Second, the spine has some natural curve to it anyway, that's what we want to maintain. This is a problem when you load the spine in an excessive arch, the weight bearing discs in the spine don't like that. What this looks like is often confused with starting the motion from the hip. Starting from the hip is "hinging" and the butt moves back. Starting from the lumbar is "arching" and the butt moves back. One is good, the other isn't. Then of course there is the butt rounding under in the bottom position or the "butt wink". There is a lot that can be addressed here that I will save for another time, but basically the spine loaded out of the normal curves is not a good idea. In the video you'll see that talked about as it relates to the range of motion of the hip joint and why different positions are needed for different lifters. Sometimes it's just poor motor control. At any rate it should be avoided.