Use Your Heart Rate Monitor to “Go Harder” in 2016

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I was asked recently about how to set a goal to “go harder” in 2016. If you’ve picked up your Goal Setting Worksheet, you know that this is a vague goal that we wouldn’t want you to set for yourself. We want goals that are objective and measurable. So, I suggested to this DCCF-er that he use his heart rate monitor and shoot for a “higher” heart rate at least once a week for the first two months, then twice a week for the next two months, and so on… I wanted to follow-up on that thought to give him (and you) more info on what these heart monitors are doing for us, so you can adjust your goals accordingly.

Put simply, they’re providing an objective measure of how your cardio-respiratory system is working, which you can use to gauge your intensity and either scale it back or crank it up.

Of the five heart rate zones our monitors show on the screen, here’s a quick breakdown:

Zone 1 (Gray): 50-60% – This is a comfortable zone for warmup and cool down.
Zone 2 (Blue): 60-70% – This is “average” effort which should allow you to maintain a conversation. This zone is good for maintaining your aerobic conditioning and recovery between our higher intensity interval WODs.
Zone 3 (Green): 70-80% – This “above average” effort is good for making improvements to your aerobic capacity.
Zone 4 (Yellow): 80-90% – You’ve now entered the “hard effort” zone which is good for maintaining anaerobic capacity.
Zone 5 (Red): 90-100% – This zone, where you’re going as hard as you can go, develops your anaerobic capacity.

CrossFit taxes the anaerobic system pretty regularly, so that’s why you need to be comfortable spending time in zones 4 & 5. However, some of us may find it easier to stay in zones 2 or 3, but upping the intensity to zones 4 or 5 will put our anaerobic energy system to the test. So, if this person is you or if you’re trying to “go harder in 2016”, you can use your heart rate monitor to work yourself into the red (zone 5) then stop and rest until your heart rate returns to the blue (zone 2). If you’re adding a new day to your workout week, say going from 3x/week to 4x/week, then this pattern of working to the red then resting to the blue can also help you slowly get accustomed to the additional volume. As you adjust to working in zones 4 & 5 more often, then you can stop resting once you hit red, and begin spending more time in those zones.

Keep in mind that being dehydrated can increase your heart rate by up to 7.5% and heat/humidity can increase your heart rate by 5%. Luckily, it’s the middle of January and it’s freezing outside, so you can’t use the second excuse for why you’re in the red during Monday’s workout.

Derby City Guide to Success

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We’ve just entered a new year, and we’re seeing a bunch of new faces at DCCF. Accordingly, we thought it would be good to refresh our Derby City Guide to Success… part House Rules for making all of your health & fitness dreams come true at Derby City. And part old man’s rant.

1. DON’T CHEAT! No one cares what your score was. Everyone cares if you cheated. The whiteboard is meant to inspire your best effort but it does not mean anything. You are only competing with yourself. Use the group to motivate your effort. Be honest with everyone else, and be honest with yourself. You know what full range of motion is, so there’s no excuse for shoddy reps. If someone calls you out for doing something wrong, listen to them. You’re suffering through a workout, so you might not be critiquing yourself as hard as you would normally. The person standing around watching you workout is breathing gently and probably has sub-60 heart rate. You’re halfway through Fran. You’re biased, trust us. If you lose count, the next number is always 1 minus whatever you last remember. If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you. If you want to get on a leaderboard, you must have someone count for you. If no one saw it, it didn’t happen.

2. BE UNCOMFORTABLE! Effort earns respect. Work hard. Go heavy or go home. The only way to get stronger is to increase the load. Always strive to go a little heavier and a little faster. Never say, “I can’t.” When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Push your limits. Intensity is what makes the program work; and what you get out of the program is directly related to how much discomfort you can endure. But, don’t forget that technique matters! You need to be good at the movements to get a great workout.

3. CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! Somewhere a high school kid is warming up with your PR. Also, don’t drag people down with a bad attitude. Be optimistic, have fun and push yourself and those around you to do better. You are in total control of your behavior. No excuses!

4. TURN UP! Frequency and consistency of training are super important, so come to class. If you come 2x/week, try coming 3x. If you come 3x/week, try coming 4x. If you come 4x, trying coming 5x. For newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent. For old hands, don’t start thinking that it’s okay to just do your own thing whenever you want to. There’s a myriad of reasons we have class — you’re less likely to bias yourself towards the things you’re good at; you’ll get some competition; and no matter how experienced you are, you still need coaching and you can still stand to work on the basics. If want more, we have additional competitor programming at night.

5. TAKE OWNERSHIP! Be responsible and respectful and take pride in your gym. Don’t let others get away with things that are bad for them or bad for the gym. Remind people to take their clothes with them and pick up their water bottles. If you see someone doing something that you’re pretty sure will hurt them, tell them to cut it out. We don’t care who it is. You call them out. Safety first!

6. BE SOCIAL! Connect with the community. Learn names. Find friends. And do not ever… ever… ever… put away your weights because you finished the WOD but there are still others working. The first person to finish a WOD is the first person to cheer on others. There is nothing more disheartening than the rest of the class putting weights away when you have two more rounds to go. So, the next time you’re done with the WOD, look around and cheer on the person next to you. We’ve all been there before, the last person working. We all know that extra push is invaluable. Don’t be shy. Root on your fellow athletes, LOUDLY. That’s what Derby City is all about.

7. DON’T LIE TO YOURSELF! If you’ve plateaued or been in a training rut for over 6 months, then it’s your fault. There are no exceptions to this rule. It’s not the coaches. It’s not the programming. It’s not your work schedule. It’s you. You are your own worst enemy and you’re standing in the way of your progress. Cut the excuses. Listen to your coaches. Improve.

8. BE EARLY! If you’re not early, you’re late. Give yourself enough time to sign in, hit the bathroom, change clothes, and move around a little before class starts. Most likely that means showing up at least 10 minutes prior to class.

9. CLEAN UP! Put away your toys. Clean up your sweat. We wish we didn’t have to say this, but don’t spit on the floor. Don’t chew gum, and really don’t spit gum on the floor. Pick up your used tape, pens, notebooks, scrap papers, band-aids, water bottles and sweaty clothes. Put away all the equipment you used back where it belongs. Stack the boxes neatly, put the bars in the racks, stack the plates tightly in order, hang up your jump ropes correctly.

10. CHALK STAYS IN THE BUCKET! Don’t take it on a field trip around the gym and don’t use it to write on the floor. You can walk over three feet and bend over another two feet to put your hands in the bucket and *gently* apply some chalk before continuing your set. You don’t need it next to your bar, pullup station, or wherever else. Keep it in the bucket. Both the chalk blocks and the chalk dust.

11. RESPECT THE EQUIPMENT! Drop as a last resort. Put things down gently. Dropping weight should be a necessity, not a convenience. If you only have 15s, 10s, or 5s on your bar, then you can’t drop. 25s and up only. ALWAYS keep your weight under control. NEVER drop an empty barbell. NEVER drop a kettlebell or dumbbell.

12. SPEAK UP! If you notice that equipment is broken, there’s no toilet paper, bring it to our attention so we can do something about it.

Keep Your Wrists Feeling Good

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I often see athletes rubbing their wrists or bending their hands back, to relieve some nagging pain in their wrists. I often ask, “Have you tried rolling out your forearm?” but the response is typically the same. “My forearm? But it’s my wrist that hurts.” Yes, your forearms, that group of muscles that enable you to hang on to a bar, hold a 12oz beer, type on a keyboard, move a mouse, or flip someone off in traffic. Those same muscles.

Tight muscles often shift their burden to their tendinous ends, where they attach to your bones, their “origins” or “insertion points”. When this shift happens, you’ll experience inflammation or injury at the tendon or joint. So, issues in the forearm often result in issues at the wrist or elbow. To avoid this problem, it’s important to ensure the forearm muscles remain healthy.

You need your forearms to remain healthy so they remain strong. Their strength directly relates to your overall strength, known as “radiant tension.” Put simply, radiant tension is the act of utilizing your grip strength to create tension throughout your arm and into your shoulder. Squeeze your fist as hard as you can for 30 seconds then use your opposite hand to feel the tense arm up into the shoulder. You’ll notice your entire arm tenses up. During lifts, this tension helps utilize torque and strength while stabilizing the elbow and shoulder joints to prevent injury.

So, with that background, here are two ways you can keep your forearms, and therefore your wrists, pain-free:

1. Rolling


First, I would suggest regularly rolling your forearms with a barbell or on a Lacrosse ball. For the barbell, lay on ground, placing your palm down on the ground, then gently placing the skinny part of the barbell across the top of your forearm. With your opposite hand, work the barbell up and down your forearm, but not on the joints, while flexing and extending the hand. For the Lacrosse ball, place your forearm on top of the ball and roll from wrist to elbow. For both, apply enough pressure to where it’s slightly uncomfortable but not unbearably painful. With any super-painful areas you find, take time to pause on those areas, squeeze your fist, then relax, and continue this pattern of contract/relax a few times until the spot relaxes. Coupling this contract/relax method with deep breathing can help the fascia relax. (Fascia is a small layer of fibrous tissue covering the muscles.) There used to be a lot of discussion about rolling helping break up fascial adhesions, but lately, research points to its neuromuscular benefits. Basically, your brain telling your fascia and muscles to relax (reduce tone) so they can properly fire.

2. Voodoo Floss & Static Stretching


Post-WOD, you can use a combination of Voodoo Floss bands and static stretches to elongate the muscles and normalize the tissues. You wouldn’t necessarily want to perform these stretches Pre-WOD as elongating the muscles can put them in a weakened state. Also, if you’re experiencing pain and haven’t rolled out the knots yet, stretching will only tighten up the existing knots. Think of pulling on a shoelace with a loose knot in it, it only gets tighter. So I suggest stretching after you’ve reduced the inflammation and removed the knots from the muscle via rolling.

That being said, by applying the bands over the insertion points where your forearm muscles attach to your wrist and then stretching, you’re helping break up any tacked down tissue to create better mobility. Apply it reasonably tight then work your wrist thru various ranges of motion. You are restricting blood flow during this time, so when your hand turns ashy, take off the band and gauge any improvements. You can repeat the process as needed.

Pregnancy and Weightlifting Belts

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Pregnancy and Weightlifting Belts
Written by: Coach Slater

A DCCF-er, who’s requested she remain nameless for now, recently asked me about pregnancy and the safety of wearing weightlifting belts. I have read a decent amount on fitness and pregnancy, but I’ve never seen anyone specifically discuss pregnancy, weightlifting belts, and the intraabdominal pressure they generate. So, I began a mission to find out more… long story short… I didn’t find much in terms of conclusive evidence, but I’ll share with you what I learned!

1. The Valsalva Maneuver and Wearing a Belt
The Valsalva maneuver is a forced exhalation against a closed airway and is used to create additional intraabdominal pressure during maximum effort lifts. It also causes a quick spike in blood pressure and can result in that narrowing of vision or blacking out that you’ve surely experienced after standing up with a really heavy clean. During pregnancy, it’s recommended that you limit this maneuver to keep a continuous breathing pattern, exhaling during the resistance phase and inhaling during the negative/lowering phase, thus keeping an even amount of pressure throughout the movement. This lessening of pressure likely means that you’ll need to lower your weights at some point to accommodate the inability to create additional intraabdominal pressure. And, while no one seems to make the leap from this discussion to that of using a weightlifting belt for similar purposes, I can see that the two would be linked. If it’s recommended that you don’t perform the Valsalva maneuver because of the adverse effects of intraabdominal pressure on blood flow to the fetus, then it would make sense that you shouldn’t utilize a weightlifting belt because of its usage for creating greater intraabdominal pressure. Not totally scientific, but I’m not wearing a lab coat.

2. Lying On Your Back and Lower Back Issues
Somewhere around 12-16 weeks, the uterus becomes big enough that when you lie flat on your back, it can exert pressure on the vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart, which reduces blood flood and may lower blood pressure. Obviously, interfering with blood flow to the placenta can be harmful to a developing fetus. So, situps tend to be out of the question.

Obviously I don’t need to tell you about lying on your belly. You’re smart enough to know about that.

But, keeping the lower back strong thru the pregnancy is important due to the additional weight being added to the anterior/front. With that in mind, I believe you should continue to deadlift thru your pregnancy, because they help strengthen your back & hips. Done properly, they do not cause back strain. Bending over improperly and picking up your groceries might hurt you if you’re not being careful, but a proper deadlift is safe. That said, as your belly grows, you might need to switch to a wider stance or use dumbbells/kettlebells to accommodate the growing belly.

If you’re experiencing pregnancy-related lower back pain, that could be due to vertical push movements (shoulder press, push press, push/split jerk) or cleans, especially if you tend to lean backwards while letting your hips shift forward. So, try reducing the weight and focus on keeping your hips under you with your spine in a neutral position.

3. Hormones
During your pregnancy, your body will increase the production of a hormone called “relaxin” which works to relax supportive tissues in your body. It allows your body to stretch to accommodate the growing fetus and relax the pelvis in anticipation of labor. That’s a necessary effect obviously, but it’s not great for training purposes because a softening of ligaments means you need to be careful when performing dynamic movements that tap the full range of motion of a joint. So, for instance, you may find that it’s easier to stretch your chest and shoulders at the bottom of a kipping pullup, but you’re doing so at the expense of extra stress on your joints because your ligaments are softer and not as able to help protect them. You may also find that heavy squats, cleans, jerks or snatches no longer feel as strong because your knee, hip, shoulder and elbow joints are not as stable as they were pre-pregnancy due to relaxin reducing the amount of elastic energy available to you. So, beware of this phenomenon and don’t be ashamed at backing off the weight a little or reducing your range of motion.

4. Intensity
Apparently, there used to be a general rule of thumb that pregnant women shouldn’t exceed a 140 beats-per-minute heart rate while exercising, but that’s been debunked now. Instead, you’re warned to keep your intensity in check so as to not subject the baby to oxygen deprivation. That’s why “perceived exertion” is a better way to determine your intensity, because you can easily go over 140 bpm but still be breathing easily (you’re a fit mom after all!). But, don’t get into a state where you’re gasping for breath and unable to carry a conversation while working out. If you’re breathing extra hard, there’s a good chance there’s insufficient oxygen in the blood, meaning the fetus is getting less oxygen. Use the “talk test” to help gauge your perceived exertion and keep your intensity at a safe level.

There you have it. Those are the important bits of knowledge that I’ve learned while researching fitness and pregnancy. I wish I’d learned more specifically about weightlifting belts and pregnancy, but no one’s testing that out on pregnancy women as it turns out. Shocker. Anyway, as a guy who’s widely recognized as not necessarily being “kid-friendly”, I’m pretty happy with what I found out. So, I hope you found this info helpful, too. Feel free to shoot me a message or grab me in the gym if you’d like me to expand on any of these ideas.

Adding an Additional Workout Day to Your Week

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You’ve been hitting Derby City 3 days/week and want to gradually progress into 4… or, you’ve been coming 4 days/week and want to move to 5… how do you do it?

On the day you’re adding in, we think it wise to modify the strength & conditioning elements to gradually adjust to the additional volume. For our strength work, we often have you perform a primary move on the Even minute followed by an accessory move on the Odd minute. Adjust to your new/additional day by modifying this setup to perform the primary lift on the Even minute, then mobilize or rest entirely on the Odd minute, instead of performing the additional gymnastic work. Using this method for the strength work, you will decrease your total reps, so you’ll automatically decrease the amount of total effort/volume required.

For modifying the conditioning piece, here’s where having a heart rate monitor can be very useful. You can attack this piece like intervals, by starting the WOD and working to increase your heart rate up to the red (90-100%). Once it hits there, stop until your heart rate decreases to the blue (60-70%). Once you are in the blue, start again and work up until you’re in the red, then of course rest again until you’re back to the blue. Continue this pattern of work/rest until the AMRAP is complete, until you reach the time cap, or until you finish all of the reps under the cap. This pattern follows more closely to traditional H.I.I.T. interval work and will allow you to recover better, making it easier for you to adjust to the additional workout day during your week.

Once you have adjusted to this additional day you can stop the rest intervals and perform the work as originally written, thereby progressing even further. Also, you don’t have to use this method just for adding another day, but if you’re feeling a little under-recovered or lacking motivation, this method may work for you as well.

Get Off the Ibuprofen

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Medical Disclaimer: Medicine is serious business, so always follow the advice of your doctor.

Now that we have that out of the way…

Ever been so sore after a workout that you feel the need to pop an Advil? We’re here to put a stop to that.

You should never take an anti-inflammatory drug because it weakens tendons and ligaments and inhibits recovery. The soreness you feel after a workout is a result of swelling due to micro-damage in the muscles. This inflammatory response is what makes you better, so taking an anti-inflammatory is counter productive because it delays healing.

What should you do instead? Well, take tylenol/acetaminophen if you’re super-desperate but it has been shown to cause liver failure, especially when combined with alcohol, and we all know how we like to party at DCCF. Better methods include compression and active recovery… so, purchase some Voodoo Floss Bands or Voodoo X Bands and compress your soft tissues. Wrap the inflamed area then contract and relax the surrounding muscles, taking them through a full range of motion. As far as active recovery, think about moving what you can, when you can. Go through a full warm-up to get your tissues moving well again. Lastly, look at your nutrition (sign up for our DCCF/ETP Nutrition Program!), fluid intake, contrast showers, stretching, massage, elevating the affected area, fish oil, etc… as all of those factors can have an effect on recovery.

So, in summary, anti-inflammatory drugs have no place in the daily life of an athlete. Got it? Good.

How to Cooldown After Your WOD

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How to Cooldown After Your WOD
Written by: Coach Slater

In a past article, we discussed how to warm-up before your class warm-up. Now, let’s move on to how to cooldown after a DCCF WOD. We want to get your body back to homeostasis so you can increase your recovery. WOD + No Cooldown = Progress, but WOD + Cooldown = Even More Progress.

The goal of a cooldown is to gradually bring your heart rate back to its resting level. This is usually about 5min long, but could be longer depending on the workout. Longer workout (i.e., 20min WODs), shorter cooldown. Shorter workout (i.e., “Fran”), longer cooldown.

Foam Roll
First, we want to have you foam roll the entire body, paying close attention to the areas most used in the workout. Deep breathing is wonderful for down-regulating your body to aid recovery, and foam rolling post-WOD can make it easy to kick-start the process of focused breathing. Essentially, you’re helping your tissues relax.

Make about 15-20 pass-throughs over these areas:
*Quads/Hip Flexors
*Mid-Upper Back (hug yourself then roll your back)
*Thoracic Mobility (hands behind head, roller mid back, bend back and over roller, hold 3-5sec x 5-7)
*Lats/Rear Shoulder

Second, we want you to stretch a little. Static stretching is terrible for warming up, but great for cooling down. With that said, some of your muscles may not be tight, but you may instead have bad positioning which creates tone in muscles that are overactive. So, you can stretch every major muscle for 30sec each (or 10 rounds of 3sec holds) or you can work your breathing drills to reset your positioning. Breathing drills can help relax your central nervous system, to reset the signals your muscles are receiving which create tension due to a lack of stability, thus creating so-called “tight” muscles.

As long as you’ve got your positioning dialed in, then we realize that stretching is a relaxing way to cooldown and we endorse anything that will help relax your body after a WOD. So basically, we’ll have you perform all/most of the same lengthening drills from the warm-up: couch stretch, activated active straight leg raise, banded ankle distraction, overhead mobility mobilization, banded lat stretch, and banded wrist mob.

Yea, we’re going to make you click on some links to see videos… sorry. Trying to explain all of those stretches is much more difficult than just sending you to a few YouTube links.

So, that’s it! Just two things to do to cooldown from your WOD. Foam roll and stretch. We’ll hit on Post-WOD nutrition in a different post; so for now, checkout those vids and bookmark this post so you can refer to it again in the future.

Tips to Prepare for Your First Competition

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We love that so many DCCF-ers have signed up for their first CrossFit competitions this summer. There are a handful of people signed up for the beginner division of Kentuckiana’s Fittest as well as the team division of the End of Summer Throwdown. As we mentioned in our latest enewsletter, we’re going to program classes to help everyone prepare for these events.

Here are some other tips to consider for the weeks and days leading up to your first competition.

1. Nutrition – Hopefully you’re already subscribed to the Eat-to-Perform Nutrition Program and are reaping the benefits of a little food monitoring coupled with a bit of meal preparation. If you haven’t yet, or if you’re signed up but not actually using the advice given to you by ETP’s experts, then you should. Unfortunately, you can’t benefit from improved nutrition overnight, and you can’t undo weeks of bad eating overnight. So, you should be eating better “now” to prepare for the competition “later”.

Also, the night before your competition is the wrong time to experiment with a new eating plan. If you’ve been eating bread without any ill effects, keep eating bread. Don’t try to throw in something weird that you’ve never eaten before. Your body has acclimated to your nutrition, so don’t surprise it the night before your comp. You don’t want your bowels to be irritated with you during a comp.

Ok, so let’s say you’ve been eating well for the weeks leading up to the competition, but what about the competition day? Again, stick with foods you’re familiar with, and between events, try to fit in small meals or shakes with a little protein, high carb, and low fat to refuel. Consider protein shakes with coconut water, and add some real food like “Best Ever Bars” and easily digestible carbs like bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, or white rice. Tuna and chicken can be easily digested as a protein source besides just whey protein powder, and they taste fine when eaten cold out of a small container.

2. Feedback – The smallest things can have a huge impact on your performance in a competition, if you begin to work on those things now. So, ask for feedback on all of your movements, your lifts, your bodyweight gymnastics, how you tie your shoes, your posture, how you hold your phone when you text, how you walk… seriously, the smallest things can have a huge impact on how you perform. Your coaches will throw as many tips at you as we think you can handle, but don’t be afraid to ask for more feedback. We want to help, but we also don’t want to overload you, or annoy the sh*t out of you with small details if you don’t really care.

3. Week Prior – The week before the competition is a deloading week. So, you should consider backing off the intensity & weights in class and adding some additional at-home mobility work. Whether you have or haven’t done the physical preparation, the truth is you won’t be any more fit this week than you were last week. Your fitness is what it is, so let your body heal this week. Accept your current fitness, strength and skill level as it is today. There is no need to stress over the movements you don’t possess great command of yet.

Also, take good care of your hands this week… there’s nothing worse than showing up to a competition with already-ripped or sore hands. Keep them sanded and moisturized.

4. Prepare Your Gym Bag – Your gym bag for a competition is usually bigger than it is for a normal day at the gym… if for no other reason than all the food/shakes you’ve packed. But, also, bring some extra shorts, shirts, socks, etc… as you may feel better in each WOD if you’re performing each in dry clothing; not the same sweaty shirt from your first WOD. Also, make sure you’ve got your gloves (if you use them), wrist wraps, athletic tape, belt, weightlifting shoes, jump rope, lacrosse ball, VooDoo wrap, deodorant, whatever… this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a decent starting point.

5. Mental – Ok, the first four points were just foreplay for this fifth point, as it’s easily the most important factor for beginner competitions. You need to prep yourself mentally so that you can relax and be “in the moment” during each WOD. Don’t overanalyze and stress out leading up to the comp or especially the day-of the comp. Don’t worry about your performance or how well you place. You can only control you. Enjoy the experience and learn about who you are as an athlete and perhaps as a person. Enjoy spending a day with your gym friends, meeting other athletes, vendors, etc… Sure, it’s a competition but it’s also a celebration of your fitness and your life. So when the events get hard… SMILE! You’re doing exactly what you wanted to do today and that’s pretty damn cool.

3 Vitamins & Minerals You Should Be Taking

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Some very smart people describe as the “#1 Athlete’s Supplement” for its ability to serve as a building block for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. Additionally, Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and helps the mineralization of bone. Your bones pulling on muscles makes those muscles stronger, and if you want to grow bigger muscles, then you need to have stronger bones; so, it’s a reciprocal relationship. Vitamin D is also shown to improve mood, so it’s frequently recommended to up your supplementation of it in the winter months when we’re less exposed to natural sunlight…. Oh, by the way, Vitamin D is naturally produced in our bodies when we’re exposed to sunlight. Hopefully you already knew that.

I’ve read articles touting a Vitamin D deficiency as a reason for restless nights, but that doesn’t mean you want to take your Vitamin D at night. It just means that if you’re deficient, that you may have issues getting a restful night of sleep. Overall, you’re better off taking your Vitamin D in the morning as it temporarily pauses the production of melatonin, which is your sleep hormone.

Bonus: The fish oil we provide at Derby City has Vitamin D included. Pick some up!

Athlete’s Dose: 1000 IU / 25lbs of body weight, in the morning


Magnesium is used in ATP production, which is the source of energy for every cell in your body. If you belong to Derby City and want to get stronger, workout harder, and look sexier as a result, then you should be supplementing with Magnesium. As you place more demands on your muscles, they look for more and more ATP to consume, and for you to continue making improvements, you need to continue supplying ample ATP to the body. You can do so by making sure you’re not deficient in Magnesium.

Also, Magnesium regulates heart rhythm, allows muscles to contract and relax properly, and reduces blood pressure. Now, here’s the downside to Magnesium… it relaxes the muscles of your intestines while attracting water to the area to soften your stool, so if you’re ever taken a super-high dose of Magnesium, you know the risk of “Sudden Shits”. But, since it’s so useful for helping muscle relaxation, while reducing headaches, cramps, tightness and stress, we’ll let it get away with that.

Athlete’s Dose: 500-800mg daily, typically before bed


I recently came onto Vitamin C as a recovery tool, and I’m not sure how it missed it. C aids the growth and repair of tissues while reducing cortisol. Cortisol has many positive benefits, but left too high for too long, it can result in catabolism of muscles and tissues in our body. Vitamin C can help lower cortisol levels after a workout so that your muscles can grow. Remember, your muscles aren’t built during a workout, but after when your body is recovering. Like Magnesium, Vitamin C aids the production of ATP, and it also aids in the removal of lactic acid and reduces oxidative stress (damage created by strenuous exercise), which is thought to underlie fatigue.

One word of advice… take your Vitamin C with a meal that has carbs to increase its absorption. Vitamin C can cause cramping and bloating if taken in too high of doses on its own.

Athlete’s Dose: 4-8 grams daily, especially after your workout

Note: See your doctor to get tested for deficiencies and an individualized dosage prescription.