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!

Tips For A Balanced Lower Body

After an intense workout of front squats or thrusters, you may have felt that burning pumped up sensation in your quads. Your pants are tighter and you can no longer put your phone and keys in your front pocket for fear of getting them stuck. 
The quadriceps and hip flexor muscles on the front of your legs are responsible for extending the hip and knee joints. They have tremendous potential for growth and get a great workout from movements like front squats, step-ups, and walking lunges.
Having powerful quads is not a bad thing by any means. In fact, the greatest Olympic weightlifters, cyclists, and speed skaters have huge powerful quad muscles. 
Some folks have very powerful quads but have issues recruiting the muscles of the posterior chain.  They allow the quads to handle all lower body movement. Having poor form can also contribute to you being quad dominant. If you are an athlete who notices that your weight is often in your toes you may be prone to this imbalance. If the coaches are always telling you to “get in your heels’ this is probably the correction they are cueing. 
The top priority in a training program should always be safety and function. That’s why using compound movements like squats and deadlifts provide excellent returns. In terms of strength building and promoting lean body mass they provide the most bang for your buck. People who focus too much on a single movement like squatting may be neglecting movement patterns that would keep them strong and healthy.
You should have an equal ratio of squat and lunge workouts to hinge and deadlift workouts. If you are quad dominant or lacking in the posterior chain department then that ratio should be 2 to 1 in favor of the hinge and pulling movements. As you are able to better recruit and develop the glutes and hamstrings then you can start to balance out the program you are following. Not only that but building a stronger posterior chain will make all of your lifts more powerful and you will look and feel better too!
Deadlifts, RDL’s, Kettlebell Swings, Good Mornings, Reverse Hypers, and Hip Thrusts are all excellent for beefing up those glutes and hamstrings. You can also adapt movements to make them more favorable to the posterior chain. Low bar back squats and box squat variations recruit more posterior chain than front squats do. Reverse lunges instead of forward or walking lunges will also be a better option to help you stay in your heels.
If it looks like you have a second kneecap then you might be in the running for quad dominance. Our training programs contain constant variance to make sure you are improving in all areas and eliminating weaknesses. Our coaches can help you through a series of assessments to determine what to focus on and how to get your body strong, healthy, and balanced.

The New Year’s Resolution Conundrum

res·o·lu·tion
/ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/
noun
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
eg. “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
Some things happen in life with the flick of a switch. When you want to turn a light on you simply flip the knob, clap your hands or yell across the room to Alexa and “voila”, let there be light.
Others take time to build, layer upon layer, like a brick house. The process can only happen in a very specific way. With a strong foundation, one brick at a time.
On January first many folks scramble to find the switch that will yield the results they are looking for. But behavior change is not a light switch. Behavior change is a process. Getting stronger, eating healthy, or losing weight won’t happen instantaneously. It happens brick by brick. You only get the results if you follow the process. The right plan and the right effort simultaneously.
“You are never pre-qualified to live your dreams. You qualify yourself by doing the work. By committing—even overcommitting—to what you believe you should do.” – Benjamin P. Hardy
If you are committed to an outcome then the process it will take you to achieve your goal should be irrelevant. Your focus is on results now. Your focus is on determining the right plan and taking the first step towards achieving.
If you are someone who worries about how far away you are from your goal then you are focused on the wrong thing. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t.
When you set your goals say exactly what you want. Getting specific here is key. Numbers and dates. These make your goals realistic and allow you to work backward to where you are today. This will help you set realistic expectations for what you can and should be achieving on a given day.
If your goal is to lose 40lbs then it would be impossible to achieve in one session. Your goal doesn’t feel like something that you can actually achieve. By February you may be frustrated that you haven’t hit it.
But if you start thinking about the future version of you that weighs 40 lbs less than you can start to understand what needs to be done. Your focus is not on losing weight but acting like the person who has already lost it.
You might do things like have a gym membership that you use regularly. Have a salad for lunch every day. Go for walks and spend your weekends on the go. You probably have other healthy friends that support your decisions.
“You can not entertain weak, harmful, negative thoughts ten hours a day and expect to bring about beautiful, strong and harmonious conditions by ten minutes of strong, positive, creative thought.” -Charles F. Haanel
In his book The Master Key System, Charles Haanel unpacks the process of achieving one’s goals. He explains that you have to “be it” and “do it” BEFORE you can “have it”. Most people get this process backward. They expect that they will change their behavior once they have achieved their goal. Instead, you must act in accordance with what it means to achieve your goal. Ask yourself, “Would a person who cares about their health make the decision I am about to make?”
The more your decisions and actions align with the goal, the faster it will come to you. Don’t let this New Year slip away from you. Stop looking to flick the switch that will make all of your problems go away.
Instead look for the path that is more difficult, but leads to success. Surround yourself with people doing the thing that you want to be doing. Who look the way you want to look. Learn from them, adapt their behaviors, and put in the work.
This is your year.

What It Means To “Go Vegan”

Documentaries like “Game Changers” have caused quite a stir in fitness and nutritional circles. The documentary advocates that plant-based diets are optimal for health. Using a variety of athletes as examples they promote that a vegan diet is the reason these athletes are successful.
But what does it really mean to go vegan? Is it the best choice for you? How do you even begin to decide?!
Going vegan is a choice to avoid all animal products in the diet. This choice could be for health, environmental, religious, financial, or personal reasons.
Many people may want to make the switch if they are experiencing digestive issues, low energy, or a health condition.
Others who may have food intolerances or sensitivities turn to a vegan diet to avoid GI distress and other unwanted symptoms.
Generally, the initial choice of going vegan makes people feel great. They may feel sharper mentally, less bloated, and energetic.
There are several potential reasons for this. By eliminating meat, poultry, fish, and dairy from the diet there are fewer options to choose from. But as time goes on some people tend to struggle with a vegan diet. One of the chief reasons for this has to do with protein consumption.
It can be difficult to consume enough protein from plant sources such as grains and legumes. You have to consume a tremendously high amount of carbohydrates to get adequate protein and this may not always be achieved by new vegan eaters.
Building muscle on a vegan diet can also be very difficult. You have to get enough amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, to grow. Since plants have lower amounts of certain amino acids they must be eaten in the right amounts and combinations to get what is known as a complete protein.
Most protein options for vegans are processed. This is the biggest problem. The main goal in nutrition is to stay away from packaged and processed foods for optimum health. As a vegan, it can be hard to get the full essential amino acid profile from foods. It requires a lot of pairing with different foods to get your required amount, and an extremely varied diet to avoid deficiencies.
The main point here is to make sure you are getting enough whole food sources as a vegan and you can be as strong and fast and any of your omnivore friends.
The best thing any vegan athlete can do is keep an eye on their blood work with their doctor to address any deficiencies early on and work with a dietician or nutritionist to accomplish any athletic goals to ensure a healthy body and mind.
One particular essential nutrient is B-12 which is found in meat. This must be supplemented if you go on a vegan diet long term.
Going vegan isn’t bad for you. It is actually a great way to give your digestive system a break. You also have the opportunity to consume more nutritious fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Consider going vegan for a few days as a way to de-load your body’s digestive organs every so often.
If you are already vegan. Consider experimenting with high-quality meat and animal products in the diet and see if that makes a difference. Wild-caught fish and game may be handled very differently in your body than commercially farmed meats you may have eaten in the past.
Everyone human is different and it is up to use a combination of science and trial and error to make decisions for your health. If you need help getting started then get in touch with one of our coaches today!

CROSSFIT MONTCO – OUR VISION, FOCUS, AND VALUES

Nine years has given us the confidence to really understand who we are and how to deliver the best service possible to our community.  Our journey is about helping members believe in themselves, develop meaningful relationships, and genuinely enjoying the gym experience

CrossFit MontCo’s inclusive, supportive approach is delivered by bad-ass, knowledgeable, and professional coaches; challenging and effective programming; where we celebrate all wins, no matter how small they may seem.

As a team, and a community, we strive to live by the following Vision, Focus, and Values:

Vision

To lead our clients to their health and fitness goals by delivering an inclusive environment that is centered around positive change, fun, and education. We provide a home for employees to develop a career and foster ideas to move our training methodology, clients, and the industry forward.

Focus

To provide the best hour of our members day through a personalized approach that includes top-tier coaching, results-driven programming, a supportive community, and an unforgettable gym experience.

Core Values

As a team and a community we live by the following values:

Integrity

Members

We do the right thing, even when no one is watching. We respect our fellow members, coaches, staff, and facility at all times.

Team

We do the right thing, even when no one is watching. We are committed to conducting our business in a manner that enables us to treat members, guests, and staff with honesty, dignity, and respect at all times.

Knowledge

Members

We are open to learning from our coaches and fellow members every single day.  We strive to become experts in our own health and wellness.

Team

Coaching is teaching, and members are students.  We strive to educate members in all aspects of fitness and wellness, throughout their lifetime at CrossFit MontCo.  As educators we continue to refine our knowledge to push the standard of our client experience.

Commitment

Members

We are committed to betterment of ourselves, supporting our fellow members, and respecting our coaches.

Team

We are committed to improving the health and fitness of our members, and ensuring they are successful in achieving their goals.

Humility

Members and Team

We seek and provide honest feedback.  We value openness and the curiosity to learn from anyone.  We learn from mistakes and success in equal measure, and we’re open to change and continuous improvement.

Fun

Members

We will never take ourselves too seriously. We train because we love to train, and we love the people who train with us.

Team

We coach because we love to coach.  Yes, we will always make our time together effective, results-driven, and emotionally and physically rewarding—but we will also keep it fun!

Where does alcohol fit into your training?

Since about 7000 B.C., alcohol has been a staple for gatherings in many cultures. You may have heard that wine can actually be a healthy beverage for your heart, or that a hot toddy when you’re sick makes you get better quickly. Are these claims true? Like most answers: yes and no. It depends on a myriad of things like your genetics and the way your body processes alcohol, additives and the quality of the booze you’re consuming.

So where does this fit into your life? If you’ve ever wondered if you should avoid it all together, or can have a glass or two of your favorite red or microbrew, this article is for you.

Let’s talk about the science of alcohol. What’s in it that gives us that fuzzy feeling? The answer: ethanol. This substance absorbs into our bloodstream and causes a “depressing effect” on the systems in our bodies.Our reaction times slows, stress and anxiety are reduced, and the body altogether slows down.

Weightlifting and exercise in general generate metabolic waste for the body to process. The liver is instrumental in clearing these waste byproducts from the body. If you are working hard in your training you may be putting a hefty load of work on your liver. Make sure that if you are exercising and enjoy a few drinks you are getting ample rest and recovery to keep your body in balance.

There is also the additional calories to consider when it comes to alcohol. If you are trying to lose fat then there is most likely no room in your diet for excess calories. You want your primary calories to come from lean protein, fibrous vegetables, and heart healthy fats. Replacing some of those calories with alcohol put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Not only that, but after a few drinks you may become tempted to reach for foods that don’t support your body compositional goals.

Consuming alcohol doesn’t make you unhealthy or a bad person. Just like anything else you consume, it should have can have a place if you are responsible and keep it in balance with your health and wellness goals.

It’s The Little Things

I am really hard on myself.  I always have been.  I hold myself to a really high standard in everything that I do.

While this has helped in many aspects of my life, including starting a business, it is also to my detriment.  Putting that much pressure on oneself can lead to anxiety, high levels of stress, and physical exhaustion.  All of which I have battled at different points in my life. What I am starting to learn(although very slowly), is that reflection and celebration of accomplishments no matter how small, is critical to keep a positive mindset.

In our monthly coaches meetings at CrossFit MontCo, we often talk about creating small wins or “Bright Spots” for members at every stage of their fitness journey.  In a world of high stress jobs, where positive re-enforcement can be very limited, we as coaches want to provide some positivity in each class or training session that you attend.a

A win doesn’t only have to come from PR’s.  Some days even just doing a workout can be a win or resisting the urge from the food or beverage you “shouldn’t have”, spending a little less time on your phone and making an effort to grow a relationship.  You do amazing things every day that can be celebrated.

If you can keep your goals in sight, take action on them daily and celebrate even the smallest accomplishments, you cannot fail.

Week after week, celebrating these small wins will roll into a snowball of accomplishments that will result in high levels of motivation and a positive mindset.

At its core this process can be very simple. Start each day/week with a win ie. “What are 2 or 3 things that went well today or this week”? Then set your goals for the day, and take action.

Do it now.  Think about one thing that went well yesterday (no matter how small).  Write it down in a notebook, or your phone…or even send it to me in an email.

We all have goals, but the final destination shouldn’t be your only celebration.  It’s the little things along the way that will provide real fulfillment.

– Kristin

One Things Leads To The Next

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, this is Newtons third law.

Each decision you take leads to more decisions and its typical that positive decisions lead to making more positive decisions and the same is true for negative decisions.

To get to that magical day where you are exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, meditating reading, enjoying your hobbies and in a happy place at the beach, it only takes 1 step followed by another

Master one thing a time, when you start to fill half your plate with vegetables, and you get to a point where it’s just part of what you do, it spills over into another part of your life.  Before you know it, you are eating healthy meals all the time.   This leads you to better sleeps, and more energy.  When you have more energy, it makes it easier to get motivated to go and do what you love.  Sports and exercise become easier leading you to take on more physical challenges.  When we are challenged, we discover more about ourselves.

We sometimes get scared to try new things, new food, a new gym, a new routine.  When we start making positive decisions based around our health, it causes a trickle affect.  With consistency and coaching the small decisions that we take lead us to living the life we’ve always dreamed of living.

Keep making small steps in the direction you want to go, before long you’ll realize you’re on the road you want to be on.

CrossFit MontCo can help get you were you want to be.

Is your workout the toughest thing you’ll face today?

Working out IS NOT the hardest thing you’ll face today.

Giving 100% attention to your kids and/or spouse

Dealing with depression

Managing anxiety

Having tough conversations with a troubled friend

These things are much harder.  Working out is easy compared to these things when we actually look at it.

But exercise would be the first place to start when it comes to preparing yourself to deal with those “hard things” or facing the real challenges in your life.

A study at Harvard University showed that running 15 min per day or walking for an hour reduced the risks of major depression by 26%, and consistent exercise can prevent relapses.

Working out releases endorphins that act as a stress reliever, boosting physical and mental energy.  The by-product of this acts as a natural treatment for anxiety.

People who love working out do so because of these benefits (whether they realize it or not).  A healthy body is a healthy mind.  Changing your body composition does not have to be your only motivation to workout.  Movement is medicine, and it should be a lifelong prescription.

What do you struggle with?  What’s holding you back?

-Kristin

WHAT IF I’M NOT READY TO COME BACK TO THE GYM?

 

 

We’re not far off from re-opening, or we’re still really far….. No-one really knows at this point as the interpretation of the guidelines are more confusing than calculus.  As restrictions are lifted there is still a high level of caution from some and that is totally understandable.  Just like respecting the social distancing guidelines, we now need to respect the decisions of those who aren’t quite ready to resume normal life.

Whether you’re ready to come back to the gym or not, fitness and your well-being should still remain a top priority.  The components to improving and maintaining your fitness and health have not changed and we are even better equipped now to do it while at home.

What are you working towards?

This doesn’t have to be a grandiose goal.  But a specific goal will go a long way in motivating you to complete your workouts, eat better, sleep more, and stress less.  This can include improving your golf game, losing 5lbs-10lbs, running 10km, or getting stronger.  Maybe you thought COVID-19 would blow over and have put off prioritizing your health and fitness.  Whatever it is, your goals do not have to wait for the gym to re-open, or for you to be ready to come back.

Building your plan

“Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson.

COVID-19 was that punch, and it felt like an uppercut.  But it wasn’t a knock-out blow. Yes we’ve been forced to workout at home, but results will tell you that doesn’t matter. Some of the success that we’ve seen from our CrossFit MontCo Online clients have been incredible.  Some clients needed just a weekly check-in while they follow our workouts and attend our zoom classes, some excelled with daily accountability from their coach, others started nutrition coaching, and some have been doing private sessions with personalized programming. You’re a unique snowflake and your health and fitness program should recognize that.  If you work long hours, and always struggled to get to the gym, daily 30-40 min at-home workouts with daily or weekly accountability would be a great option to fit your needs.

Doing the work

Very few people are motivated 100% of the time, especially with their fitness.  Netflix, cookies, and wine are easily accessible, and can feel like a safe option most days.  The key to motivation is accountability.  Taking action becomes simple when you’re held accountable to doing it.  Accountability can look like many things: it could be staying on top of a leaderboard, a public declaration of your intentions, a workout buddy, or a coach.  No matter how you choose to stay accountable, this should be the first step taken before you begin your plan.

Adapting Through Progress Tracking

Setting a goal, creating a plan, and staying accountable is the road map to success.  But sometimes the gas tank needs to be re-filled, or the tires need to be rotated before you reach your destination.  Tracking your progress and making tweaks to the program or your lifestyle along the way eliminates stagnation, and increases motivation.  It is also a chance to celebrate wins and accomplishments along the way.  To do this properly, honest feedback and assessment with yourself or a coach will ensure the appropriate changes can be made before continuing the journey.

Our survey about member intentions with regards to returning to the gym showed there are a number of clients who aren’t quite ready. That’s okay! Reach out to us so that we can continue to plan for your success.  Not yet a member at CrossFit MontCo? We are accepting new members into our personalized coaching program and would be happy to discuss how we can set you up for success right from home. Email info@crossfitmontco to get started.