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Don’t Let Monday Ruin the Rest of Your Training Week

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Don’t Let Monday Ruin the Rest of Your Training Week
Written by: Coach Slater

If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve probably picked up on this trend: the gym is PACKED on Monday, yet strangely not so busy on Tuesday. Monday, it looks like we need to add another three wings to accommodate all the people. Tuesday, you’ve got more room around you than you know what to do with. Then, on Fridays, attendance nears the Monday levels.

Here’s a look at a few months of check-ins. You can see that certain classes have certain trends.

Notice how Monday has the largest attendance at virtually every class time? I don’t know exactly why this is happening, but what I fear is… people are coming in Monday, going super hard to “make up” for some poor lifestyle choices they made over the weekend (eating poorly, drinking a little too much, staying out too late), getting blown out as a result of not “easing” back into it, and then their Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurs…. hell, the entire rest of their week is ruined, until Friday when they’re like “I gotta get in a workout before the weekend”, and then the whole process begins again. My apologies for the run-on sentence. The point is: going too hard on a Monday is ruining their week.

So, if this hypothetical person is you, let me suggest something: Don’t Try to Make Up for Lost Training.

Don’t try to “make up” for your poor decisions from the weekend. Squeezing in extra intensity (or volume in the form of extracurricular running) is the quickest route to overtraining and injury. Four days of above-average workouts are better than three days consisting of one hard day and two mediocre days.

If you’re new to this fitness game, you’re trying to teach your body the “new normal” by attending frequently and consistently. When you’ve been mostly inactive for months or years, hitting the gym hard one day and then resting for three days means your body thinks it has no reason to change its normal procedures. It has no reason to adapt. But, you want it to… that’s the whole reason you joined here! So, consistent attendance is the key at the beginning.

On the other hand, you folks who have been consistently attending 4x and 5x/week for years, don’t stress if you need to miss some workouts. As a general rule, the fitter you are, the longer it will take your muscles turn to flub. Your physique doesn’t like change; it’s constantly trying to achieve homeostasis. So the longer you have been exercising (and the fitter you are), the more time it will take for your body to say, “Well, I guess we don’t need to build muscle any more.” Your normal is much different than the first person in this scenario.

Be consistent. Be humble. Be hungry. Then be impressed by your results.

Mental Tricks to Get Thru Tough Workouts

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Mental Tricks to Get Thru Tough Workouts
Written by: Coach Slater

Everyone knows the feeling of suffering and self-doubt during a really tough WOD. Those negative thoughts crawl in, sometimes before the WOD even starts:

“You’ll never finish under the time cap.”
“If you skip one or two reps, no one will notice.”
“Let’s do the sub-Life version. You won’t feel so much pain.”
“Just give up and it’s over. Right here and now, and the pain will end.”

We CrossFitters are especially prone to this kind of negative self-talk because our workouts can demand so much from us, both physically and mentally. But we can’t let them win.

Luckily, there are some pretty easy psychological tricks you can use to help yourself:

1. Control What You Can Control: Breath

You can’t control how heavy the weight is, but you can control how you’re breathing. Focusing on your breath can be calming when you feel anxious during (or especially before) a WOD. Concentrate on making your breathing regular, and adapt it to each movement. For example, on Wallballs, I like to inhale just before I catch the ball on the descent, holding it in as I hit the squat, then exhale as I’m driving up and releasing the ball. When rowing, I exhale as I drive back, quickly inhale & exhale as I return, then sneak in one more inhale at the catch, before exhaling again on the drive.

Focusing on controlling what you can control, namely your breathe, can have a dramatic effect on diminishing those negative thoughts during workouts.

2. Trick Your Brain by Refocusing Your Thinking

This trick is especially useful during longer workouts. When you feel exhausted and pain ridden, your brain concentrates on those aspects in your body, the acid in your legs, the heaviness of your arms, etc… What you have to do now is to distract your brain from these impulses by totally occupying it with something else. The easiest way to do that is by giving yourself a mental task to complete.

Personally, I recite every person’s first and last name in class. I’ve also heard that listing every capital city in the US works. Or, think of as many words as you can that contain two certain letters, like S and C for example. By doing so, you’re deliberately distracting your thinking from the source of pain. It sounds trivial, but this technique can help pass the time when things get tough and that clock seems to move at half-speed.

3. Be Inspired by Your Fellow CrossFitters

In CrossFit, we earn each others respect by going all out during a WOD. Personally, I’m typically more impressed by someone who pushed themselves and still got time-capped, rather than someone who went too light and breezed thru the WOD to finish first. Or, what about those people who do things that look impossible? Both sets of individuals are inspirational in their own way because they’re pushing it to their very own limits. If you find yourself feeling terrible during a WOD, thinking you can’t go on anymore, take a look around you. See anybody else quitting? No? Then you shouldn’t either. Be inspired by the other athletes here.

4. Adopt a Hero-Version of Yourself

Stole this idea from a book called SuperBetter, about gaming yourself for better performance. Basically, think of a hero you want to be, like Hulk, Wonder Woman, or Iron Man and use them to create your own secret identity. When you feel like you can’t go on anymore during a WOD, think of your secret identity as a mantra. Say to yourself something like “I am the mighty XXX and I will do everything to get stronger and slay the WOD-monster.”

Yes, this sounds silly, but by saying this to yourself, you’re programming your brain thru positive affirmation.

5. Accept Failure as a Part of the Process

Don’t be afraid to fail. First, remind yourself of the reason why you are doing CrossFit. Maybe it’s because you like the people here (they’re pretty cool), want to get fitter, or maybe you need it to counter depression and the stress you have in your life. Whatever your individual reason, we’re all united by the fact that we want to become better versions of ourselves.

To accomplish this, you have to push yourself to your limits and then exceed those limits during a WOD. That also means that you have to FIND your limits as well. These are the points, places, and times at which you fail. Failure to hit a certain weight, perform a specific number of reps, or finish a WOD within a time cap does not mean that you’ll never be able to do these things. It just means that you can’t do them right now. If you want to get better, hit those targets and improve, then you need to put in the work.

If you succeed at every WOD, you always PR with every lift, and you’re always first, then you simply aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Failure is part of the process, and it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally hit that lift or WOD time you’ve been chasing!

Why Showing Up Late Is Killing Your Fitness

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Why Showing Up Late Is Killing Your Fitness
Written by: Coach Evan

Oh great. Another article telling me I’m doing something wrong and how detrimental it is to my health.

Well, sorta, but not really. Let me preface this by saying we at Derby City CrossFit NEVER want to deter someone from coming to class. Showing up late is better than not coming at all and we don’t mind fast-forwarding you through the warmup. You won’t be able to hop right into the strength work without warming up, but we’ll make do. Whenever someone comes in late, they tend to go straight to the whiteboard to see what we’re doing, then they make eye contact with me and they look ashamed. Don’t worry. We welcome you to class. Just come straight to me and ask what to do. I’ve probably already thought of something for you to do to warm up the best you can with the time given. This isn’t about how showing up late is bad, it’s about how much better it could be if you didn’t.

If you ARE late, you’re missing a crucial part of class: the warmup. We have tailored the warmup specifically to the work being done that day. If we’re back squatting, we’re going to squat a lot to make sure your quads, hamstrings, and hips are warm and ready to fire. We’ll also get your glutes activating so your knees don’t cave in. If you’re absent for the warm up and jump in the strength work after only sitting on the bike for two minutes you won’t be able to perform like you would if you had hit the warmup.

Not only are you unable to get the right muscles warm for the strength work and the WOD, you lose the chance to improve your technique. You could progress in gymnastics or get a helpful cue for technique in one of the lifts we’re working on. One of the best opportunities to coach is during the warmup because you’re moving a much lighter load. This makes it a lot easier for us coaches to make corrections in technique. Being late might cause you to miss the golden nugget that fixes your rowing technique or that perfect cue that gets the bar into your hip during a snatch. What if during that warmup your coach finally helps you get kipping pullups? Think of what could be if you show up on time!

An essential piece of the beginning of class is the strategy and major technique points given to you by the coach. It might seem like we’re just up there talking to hear ourselves talk, but we’re trying to break things down for you. We’re giving you tools to attack the strength work and workout with purpose, which will make you a fitter person. These points could help you crush a workout or smash a PR.

We practice our introductions. We plan what we’re going to say beforehand so you get the most benefit. When you show up late for the 50th class in a row, the shortened version of my well-rehearsed spiel is unfortunately just not going to be as inspirational or educational. You’re missing out on a wealth of knowledge that comes from this part of class. These tips, tricks and cues add up, and over the course of a few months you could learn a lot about CrossFit if you soak in the intro and apply it to the work in class.

That’s what you miss if you’re late. Even if you’re on time, you miss out on taking advantage of warming up before the class warms up. We all have problem areas that need special attention. The best time for you to work on them is 5-10 minutes before class starts. Getting to class early allows you to get those shoulders loose so your front rack position is better. Imagine a class that is absent of me shouting, “hey, get those elbows up!” Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe you need a little extra time to get your hips opened up so you can squat to full depth with no problem. If you came in early you could do that and then you’d never hear me yell, “Hey, squat lower!” which I’m sure would make you very happy.

Everyone knows the adage, “if you’re on time you’re late, if you’re early you’re on time.” We highly encourage you to adopt this for the gym but also every day life. Derby City CrossFit is dedicated to making us all fitter, but also better people. We care about your well-being, we care about you lifting heavier and faster and learning new skills. Best of all we can apply the skills we learn in the gym to any aspect of life. Come in early, move with purpose, become the best version of yourself.

Pre-Training Nutrition

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Pre-Training Nutrition
Written by: Coach Slater

Ever tell yourself that you’re going to hit your training session hard, but find you only have energy for a short period of time, maybe one or two sets of your strength work, or get halfway through the conditioning piece and feel like giving up? Your nutrition could be at fault.

Would you plan a roadtrip, but not fill your car up with gas beforehand? If so, you’re not going to get very far. Just like in training. Typically, an increased focus on pre- and intra-workout nutrition leads to better performance and faster recovery.

If you don’t fuel your body and prepare it for exercise, you won’t burn as many calories as you would on a full tank. The more energy you have, the longer your intensity will last. You’ll run faster and weight will feel lighter, all because you have a greater capacity to move quickly.

The harder you work, the more muscle cells you’ll damage. This means when you refuel your body post-training, you’ll have a greater opportunity to increase muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be, and the more you can eat in the future.

Pretty straightforward, right?

Timing

So, as a general rule of thumb, the further you are away from a workout (2-3 hours or so) you want carbs that are lower on the glycemic index (GI) scale. As you get closer to the workout (60min or so before training) you can get away with having something higher on the GI scale. If you train super early in the AM, it’s a good idea to have some higher-GI carbs 15-30min before your workout so you’re not training on an entirely empty stomach. Some good higher-GI go-tos are a carb/protein shake (like Driven Glyco Drive & Whey Protein from the Front Desk), some white toast, raisins, or drink your carbs in the form of 100% juice or coconut water.

But even the most quickly-digesting carbs can take up to 30min to really enter the bloodstream in meaningful amounts. That means that the first part of your workout can feel sluggish. So, try your best to eat 1-3 hours beforehand!

Food Suggestions

These are some lower-GI foods you can eat 2-3hrs prior to training, which means the carb is digested slowly in order to give the body a nice sustained fuel source.

For example:
1. Muesli (carb) + Chobani no-fat plain Greek yogurt (protein) – add a tsp of honey if you don’t like the tart taste of the yogurt

2. Tuna/salmon/chicken breast (protein) sandwich on whole wheat bread (carb)

3. Whole wheat bagel (carb) + low-fat cottage cheese (protein)

4. Oats with oranges, honey, skim-milk and protein powder

5. Large piece of fruit (mango/banana/apple/pear) + a protein shake

If you’re not currently eating prior to training, then pick one of these options, have it an hour or two prior to exercise, and I guarantee you’ll see a big difference in your training session.

The Key to Weight Loss Success

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The Key to Weight Loss Success
Written by: Coach Evan

The Key to Weight Loss Success… is a clickbait title and this article is actually about The Key to Success with a Nutrition Program.

Ask people what the most difficult thing about staying on track with a nutrition program is and you will hear many different responses. “The weekdays are easy, but the weekends are tough”, or “training days are good, rest days’ suck”, or “When I’m on my own it’s fine but when I go out or eat with friends and/or family that’s when I seem to fall off,” are examples that I hear often. These might sound different but they all boil down to one similar characteristic: consistency. Following your plan religiously and unwaveringly is the hardest part of a nutrition program. The key is to prepare for obstacles and to be malleable when unforeseen circumstances pop up.

There are only a few true reasons why you can’t stick to a plan:

1) An emergency comes up, real or exaggerated, and there is no other option but to abandon your plan and eat unhealthy, or don’t eat at all. Neither option is ideal. Real emergencies are circumstances where it’s more important for you to deal with the emergency than focus on your nutrition plan. An exaggerated emergency might be that you’re out of food and you’re tired and it’s been a long day and it’s kinda late so the easiest thing is pizza and beer. Sorta sounds like the first…

2) You consciously choose not to, aka someone asks you to go get pizza and beer and you say screw it, let’s go.

3) You haven’t figured out a way around whatever obstacle is stopping you.

4) You don’t realize there is an obstacle in the first place.

There are so many ways to get around obstacles, and I’ll mention a few in a moment, but if you are following a nutrition program you also should recognize that situations like this are challenges and you will meet them in your journey all the time. You need to be ready to make changes depending on how well you can cope with these challenges.

Here is a conversation I have repeatedly with clients:

Me: How are things going?
Client: Well, I like to go out to eat with friends and family, and I also like to have a drink, and it’s hard to not go over on my macros.
Me: Absolutely it’s hard. You should consider cooking at home that way you can hit your macros spot on.
Client: Well, I’m really busy and I just don’t have time to cook or meal prep.

This is a perfect example of not realizing there is an obstacle in the first place: habits that are holding you back. Finding the time to meal prep is a topic for another article called, “it’s easier than you think,” but if you aren’t willing to sacrifice eating out then you aren’t ready for a nutrition program. And I even think it’s ok to eat out once a week…

Let’s talk about how to prepare for roadblocks; how to be ready for unideal situations.

A) One of the easiest ways to prepare is to meal prep.

Make your food for the week, package it up, and be ready to go. Commit to eating it, even when other options come up. Even when your family wants hamburgers, even when your friends want to go out for a drink. You don’t even have to meal prep if you take advantage of Bite Meals or some other catering service and create a special order tailored to your nutrition plan. The point is be ready and stick to your plan.

B) When your friends offer to go out, you can go, have a good time, but you don’t need a beer with dinner, and you don’t need the burrito as big as your head.

It may not be fun. Maybe you have to order the salad and then eat something at home that better fits your plan to make it work. This is about commitment and sacrifice, not everything will be perfect or easy.

C) Being overly prepared is important. These situations shouldn’t throw a wrench in the works. It might sound like a lot of work and planning but this is a lifestyle change we’re talking about; this is a life-long dream for some people. You better be ready to plan and work hard.

What if your power goes out and you can’t cook? Know the healthy restaurants and grocery stores in your area so you can go to them when you’re in a bind.

What if you work later than you planned and all of the healthy stores and restaurants are closed? Keep a healthy already-made-meal in the fridge at home just in case.

D) Create a support system with your coach, friends, and family.

Don’t be afraid to utilize that support system, that’s what they are there for. Ask for their advice, ask them to help you plan, ask them to help you get through a moment of weakness when all you want is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

You can get a perfect set of macros and write out your meals and snacks and shakes and fit them perfectly to your program but if you aren’t prepared for the curveballs life throws at you then you can throw that plan away. You can’t lose 15lbs just because you want to, you have to seriously commit and be ready to work. Whether you’re in the middle of a nutrition program or thinking about starting one, you need to be ready to make a big commitment and be ready for sacrifice.

On a lighter note, what was the charge when NaCl was arrested?

A salt.

Prioritizing Your Priorities

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Prioritizing Your Priorities
Written by: DCCF-er Phil Newton

You won’t make it very far in life without establishing some priorities. Some prioritization in life takes care of itself for you. Bills gotta get paid, so I better have a way to make money to pay them. I’ve got to survive, so I better eat, sleep, and breathe. But those priorities that life sorts for you very seldom contribute in a meaningful way to your happiness or your health. Here’s a few things I’d encourage you to consider when you evaluate your priorities you can control.

Know this before you venture further dear reader; THERE ARE NO JUDGEMENTS HERE. What you choose to make more important in regards to your fitness and your health are yours to make. Obviously, we all want the best for our friends and family here at Derby City, but we would never dream of regulating your life and impose our priorities upon you. (Although we may occasionally nudge you toward healthier habits out of pure love and genuine care.)

THE NUTRITION CONUNDRUM

There’s really no debate that eating a healthier diet comprised of whole foods, with high nutritional value is miles above eating processed foods that line the supermarket shelves. Everyone has different nutrition needs, but a healthier diet trumps an unhealthy one 100 times out of 100. It’s a fact. Now what I’m about to say is going to probably throw you off a bit, so perk up those ears.

IF YOU WANT TO EAT PROCESSED FOOD, THEN DO YOU BOO BOO.

Here’s the catch! If you prioritize the desire for an inefficient diet over your goals of fitness or health, then the higher priority will ALWAYS win. On the scale of life you can’t stack the deck to one side and expect it to balance out. Just won’t happen. If that’s what makes you happy, then your priorities are in line, and you’re doing well. If you find yourself upset with your stagnation in fitness and you aren’t making the effort to tip the balance of your priority toward better nutrition, I’m afraid you won’t ever find the results that you are after. So maybe your priority isn’t to eat 100% clean, and gosh damn it, you want to have a Hi-Five donut for breakfast every morning. I guarantee that if you allow yourself that concession and still try to improve your diet in ways that you can maintain and remain dedicated to, you will improve.

A diet that is 80% effective you can stick to 100% of the time is always going to be better than a 100% effective diet that you can only stick to 20% of the time. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll see results.

Will it be as much as someone who weighs and measures their food, and eats a more strict regimented diet? Absolutely not. But that’s their priority to sacrifice the sweets for the result, and their priorities are not yours.

SHARPENING YOUR SKILLS

Here is another area where priorities are important, but I think every single member of Derby City has been guilty of this lack of forethought at least once in their tenure as a CrossFitter. We all want to hit that big lift, or do that sexy gymnastic movement to post on the net and soak up all that sweet sweet internet adoration. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ll double tap that on Instagram all day long. There’s a conflict here however. In our pursuit of chasing down these goals and making the attainment of them our priority we lose focus on what should be most important. GETTING. BETTER. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.

Here’s a totally hypothetical situation that I’ve absolutely never seen in real life at the gym…

Athlete – “I want to get better at pullups.”
Coach – “Ok, glad to help! Here’s what we’ll do, let’s work on some progressions and build up that strength and get you some pullups!
Athlete – “Nope, I’m gonna go over here and kip on the bar for 45 minutes. SEE YA NERD.”

Eventually our imaginary athlete here may get pullups. But by prioritizing the end goal over the work that would get them there, they will never be as good at pullups as someone who did the very unsexy work of grinding through all those little movements to make the whole thing better.

ELIMINATE THE “BUT”

How many times have you heard, “That looks so fun, but…” or “I wish I could, but…” or the old standby, “Oh I always wanted to do X, but…”. The part that follows the but doesn’t ever matter, because just like everything that follows a butt, it is either hot air or shit. How many times have you said something similar yourself?

By making a statement like that you are effectively giving priority to the negative thing that is preventing you from grabbing life by the horns. Sure, life may not hand you an easy way to go, but if something is truly important to you, and you REALLY have the desire to do it, how are you gonna let a silly three letter word like “but” get between you and your dream?

I challenge you to drop your “Buts” and try from time to time to evaluate your priorities. Not only in the gym, but life in general. You want that Icelandic vacation next summer? Well, what will you need to shuffle to make that work? Less dinners out? Sell some old junk in the garage you don’t need any more?

You control your priorities. Make them make you better.

Mirrors Can’t Make You Work Harder

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Mirrors Can’t Make You Work Harder
Written by: Coach Slater

You won’t find any mirrors on the gym floor at Derby City. If you’re a veteran, you know and love this fact. But, maybe you’re new(er) and don’t yet understand. Every other gym you’ve been to your entire life has mirrors.

Cyclebar? Pure Barre? Plant Fitness? LA Fitness? Globo Gyms? They all have mirrors. Not here. Why?

We believe that your body performs better by feel, not by sight. And, your body is meant for more than whether or not your biceps look buff. They do, don’t worry about it. But looking at ’em ain’t gonna make ’em grow. The thing is, mirrors don’t lift the weight, and they don’t help you fix your form. Appearance doesn’t matter. Effort does.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but if you focus on fitness, and if you actually do improve it, then you will look better. Guaranteed. Are you improving? Are you getting stronger? Are you getting faster? We write down what we lift and how fast we lifted it because that gives us an objective number that doesn’t lie. As Henry Rollins famously said, “Two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

So, you lifted your old 1RM back squat for five reps. You finished “Helen” 20sec faster than before. You got stronger. Or faster. Or both. You improved. No mirror will tell you that.

When you get home, then you can look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Did I give my very best effort in that workout?”

How to Win Our Next Transformation Challenge

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How to Win Our Next Transformation Challenge
Written by: Coach Slater

Let’s do a quick recap of what we saw in the Summer Transformation challenge and how we can kick even more ass later this year during our Winter Transformation challenge.

Our females saw the greatest improvements in body fat, losing around 3% from their starting numbers. However, their muscle gains were mostly flat during the two month challenge. The men were similarly flat in their muscle gains, adding just 1% overall; but, they had some dramatic body fat loss. They lost over 11% from their starting levels, an average of 2lbs of body fat. To understand how much that is, the picture below is just ONE pound of body fat.

The men lost TWO cans of tomatoes!

So, if the key to winning the Winter Transformation challenge is adding muscle and losing two cans of tomatoes in body fat, let’s determine how that happens. And, we’ll start by discussing macronutrients.

Protein
Because our programming tends to be “strength based”, you’ll need more protein than if you were a spin-cycle bunny or 5lb dumbbell aerobic class devotee. An easy place to start with protein, is 1g per pound of bodyweight. If you’re not there currently, then at least get yourself to 0.8g x bodyweight. If this number is a lot higher than what you’re eating currently, then I recommend slowly ramping up to that number by adding 15-20g of protein each week so your digestive system has time to adjust.

Fat
Your body type and current level of body fat make a difference in how much or how little fat you should consume daily. Being a member at Derby City, I assume you have an an athletic build or some athletic history, so you only require about 25% of fat in your diet. If you are a little heavier at the moment and looking for a bigger fat loss, I’d recommend bumping this up to 30% (or possibly even 35%) and decreasing the remaining carbs. On the other hand, if you’re relatively lean already, then I’d lower this number to 20% and have you eating a shitload of carbs.

To put easy math to those percentages, I specifically recommend 0.35g x bodyweight for the “25% person” in this scenario. 0.4g or 0.45g x bodyweight for someone who currently has a high body fat level. And, 0.3g x bodyweight for someone who’s already lean. If you’re trying to lean out, eating high protein and high fat is usually the recommended route; one simple reason is because protein & fat make you feel fuller, longer. So, you don’t feel the need to eat mindlessly throughout the day.

Carbs
Now that we’ve decided your protein and fat, carbs are determined based on the calories you have remaining in your total daily energy expenditure. You can figure out your own numbers here, or let me give you a “loose” guideline: 2.0g x bodyweight on training days, and 1.0g x bodyweight on rest days. Aim to take in 50% of your total daily carbs during the window 90min prior, during, and 90min post-workout. We would fine-tune those generalities if you were asking for personalized nutrition coaching from us, but this is a reasonable ballpark to start from.

Other Tips
I highly recommend you pick a day to cook meals for the rest of the week, so you always have food and aren’t forced to make last-minute decisions when you’re hungry. Alternatively, buy pre-made meals from Bite Meals, a local meal-preparation service sourced from Creation Gardens, and use the discount code “DCCF” for 10% off. Meals are dropped off at Derby City every Thursday afternoon.

Don’t stress out over the exact macros. Instead, try to be close when you first start out. Stress is actually counterproductive to your physique goals, so don’t freak out if you miss a macro here or there.

With our high-intensity training program, you may find that you benefit from going a little higher carb and a little lower fat on training days. As a result, you may find that you’ll lean out further, to better show off those highly defined muscles, while coincidentally feeling like you have more energy in the gym. That’s a win-win.

Changing your lifestyle takes time. Everyone’s natural metabolism is different, so it may take a month or so of tweaking your numbers to find what’s optimal for you.

The point of this article is to help you make healthy nutrition a lifestyle and take away the stress of a restrictive diet. Your nutrition can be strict, but it shouldn’t be restrictive. Give your body the fuel it needs and it’ll respond accordingly.

Bad Combo: Fitness and High Heels

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Bad Combo: Fitness and High Heels
Written by: Coach Slater

Ladies, I KNOW you’ve heard this argument before, so don’t expect anything novel here. I’m just reminding you that wearing high heels is not only bad for your feet, but also your calves, knees, hips, and spine. High heels aren’t just “less functional” than flats, they are actively harming you.

But, don’t take it from me. Listen to an expert.

“High heels, in general, are an unnatural way to walk. We weren’t meant to walk on our tippy toes,” says Dr. Neal Blitz, a foot surgeon based in New York and Los Angeles who is board certified in both foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery. “That’s what high heels do, they put women on their tippy toes, and what that does is put excessive force on the ball of the foot. In the short term, because the foot is in this altered state and not functioning properly, you wind up getting a lot of muscle activation in the intrinsic muscles inside the foot which can lead to muscle spasms, cramping, and acute pain.”

High heels also lead to bunions, stress fractures, and abnormal calluses. They can cause the Achilles (the strongest and largest tendon in the body) and the calf muscles to tighten and shorten over time. That can limit your ankle mobility and lead to a higher risk of sprains and strains. So, if you hate running now, imagine running in the future when one of those ugly ailments rears its head. And even if you never choose running when that pops up in a WOD, those ailments make the foot less stable, so it affects your power lifts and weightlifting, too.

Looking beyond the foot, heels also pitch the body forward, putting pressure on the knees, while forcing you to compensate by extending your lumbar spine while pushing your butt and chest out. You’re forced to make active corrections to keep your head centered over your hips and stay balanced. By spending hours in this position, multiple times each week, you’re creating more stress on your spine over time. That stress can lead to pelvis and back issues later in life.

Solution?

Look, I know you’re still going to wear heels. You’re not going to throw yours out. I get it. So, if I can’t convince you to wear flats only, maybe I can ask that you wear your heels less often? Dr. Adam Lipson, a New York-based neurosurgeon and specialist in spinal surgery, suggests, “…no more than two days a week of very high heels (3+ inches). Two days a week in medium heels (1-2 inches), and three days with flats or sneakers. Cycling your higher heels with your lower heels is appropriate, so you’re not constantly exposed to higher heel height.”

To reverse the foot issues brought on by high heels? Keep strength training with us in class, learning to “grip” the floor with your feet. Doing so creates a natural arch in your foot, which lifts the foot just enough to allow the ankle, knee, and hip to stay in a straight alignment. Also, look at some self-massage of your feet and calves with a lacrosse ball. Below, I’ve added an old video of ours showing you some examples. These simple measures can help correct the problems you’ve encountered.

References:
-Spine Health Institute, “How High Heels Affect Your Body
-EliteFTS, “Build Your Arch: Why Flat Feet Kill Your Squat
-Time Magazine, “You Asked: Do High Heels Actually Damage My Feet?