SNACK MONSTER – 3 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR CUPBOARDS WORK FOR YOU!

I used to be the type of person who could buy all kinds of treats, have ice cream in the freezer and actually consume it reasonably. Or at least I thought I was that type of person. Turns out spending endless amounts of time at home has awakened a snack monster I no longer control it seems. (Don’t tell my partner, we used to argue about this a LOT, when he would be home for a day and I would find he ate the treats I had hidden at the back of the cupboard! He would say, “if it’s here and I’m here, I’ll eat it!) 

Lately, I find myself in the kitchen constantly. This working from home/remote work life  is going to wear out the hinges on every cupboard! Anything snack worthy doesn’t last. Anyone else feeling this? What about when you don’t have any treats so you throw together random ingredients to create something, ANYTHING, that resembles a snack?! (I will admit some of these creations turned out too well… like what my partner calls cookie dough bowls…) 

This inability to stop myself from eating anything and everything processed, with sugar, or high calories with little nutritional value has caused me to re-evaluate my shopping habits. If you have some fitness goals, whether they are performance, weight loss or just being healthy, your nutrition has a lot to do with it. 

Have you ever heard that saying, “can’t out train a bad diet”? Well it is true! That doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate everything indulgent you like to consume. It does mean you can make a huge impact and maximize your training with what you consume! 

Here are 3 tips for making your cupboards work for you instead of against you:

  1. Don’t Stock ‘Treats’

You know what treats I’m talking about, chips, candy, cookies… items you can reach for and crush without even thinking. Start being intentional with these items. If they are not on hand, you likely won’t make a special trip to the store to get them when the craving strikes. Even if you do, you will have to think about it. 

Our brains are constantly making decisions. When we are tired, stressed or overwhelmed it gets harder for us to make the decision to only eat 1 cookie and not the whole box. If it’s not there, I can’t eat it. 

  1. Stock up on good options

Nutritious doesn’t have to mean boring and tasteless. Go on a mission to discover some snack options that you enjoy and give you more nutritional value! I LOVE peanut butter. Turns out there are peanut butters that taste as good if not better than the first one I would grab off the shelf with NO ADDED SUGAR. A little of that on a plain rice cake and 7 dark chocolate chips, and I am a happy camper! The goal here is to find items you enjoy, that also have nutritional value and no extra junk! 

  1. Prep your snacks!

Are you really into baked goods? Make you own and use better ingredients. Veggies and fruits are great snacks, you likely won’t grab if you need to wash and prep them. So, prep your snacks like meal prep! Make accessible healthy options and it’s way more likely you will reach for them.

None of these things are mind-blowing or earth-shattering, but they DO help. There is so much information out there about nutrition these days. So many diets, fads and promises. It can be crazy overwhelming. Like choosing an apple when it is sitting next to an apple pie. Focus on this, “Eat protein and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and little to no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”

Want to dig deeper in making your nutrition work for you? We have nutrition coaches in house. Set up a call with us!

3 THINGS FIT PEOPLE ARE DOING IN LOCKDOWN

Staying fit amidst gym closures and freezing temperatures feels like an impossible task.

I mean, keeping up with exercise pre-pandemic was already challenging, so add in all of the current obstacles, and your health and fitness goals seem so, so far out of reach.

Plus, the easy way out has never called your name louder.

“Stay on the couch today”

“Order Uber Eats”

“The TV is right there..”

All that being said, there are people out there crushing their fitness, and even making serious progress…

…who are they? What do they have that I don’t?

Absolutely nothing. It’s not fancy equipment, or unlimited time, or even magic motivation.

After coaching fitness in lockdown for nearly a year, here are the 3 things that I’ve observed the fittest people in lockdown doing:

  1. They schedule a daily workout

Select a non-negotiable daily time slot for your workout. Can be 6am before work, 12pm at lunch, or 6pm after work…pick one and make it a habit. Something that’s built into your day no matter what. If your workout is a “maybe later if I’ll find time I’ll get to that” type of situation, then you and I both know it’s not happening. After a couple of weeks, this new habit will start to become automatic and you’ll be working out consistently.

  1. They know proper nutrition

We’re not talking salads being a yes and pizza being a no. To get the body       composition you want and to maintain it, you need a deeper understanding of appropriate caloric intake and macronutrient balance. This information should come from a certified nutrition coach or coaching company. Once you have a sense of how you should be eating to reach your goals, the world of nutrition is 100x simpler, and making food choices is no longer a worry.

  1. They work with a coach

Even the fittest people on earth need coaches. Coaches challenge their clients appropriately, ensure workouts are completed correctly, and stay on top of them when motivation gets low. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, investing in coaching will take you to the next level.

Feeling lethargic one afternoon? Coach will send you some motivation.

Feeling like you need an extra challenge? Coach will send you a more difficult progression of a movement or a custom target to aim for in the workout.

Feeling the pandemic blues? Coach will hear you out, and give you a simple movement task  so that you can get some exercise regardless.

If you take one thing away from this article, it should be that in order to get somewhere with your fitness goals in lockdown, you have to take action. 

Right now you don’t have the sexy loaded barbells and blaring music to motivate you. But you do still have goals to chase, and the ability to get started. So let’s get after it!

Reach out to us and we’ll help you establish a plan of action, so that you too can be successful at health and fitness in lockdown!

(UN)COMPLICATED NUTRITION & FITNESS

Do you find Nutrition and Fitness Complicated?

Here is a really simple checklist to follow:

  1. Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no added sugar. This simple prescription for nutrition will reduce inflammation and ensure you’re eating unprocessed, nutrient dense food, and provide stable energy levels throughout each day.
  2. Eat to support exercise not body fat.  Overeating is one of the most common reasons for weight gain.  Becoming aware of how much you’re eating in relation to your daily energy requirements can be extremely helpful in keeping body fat low.
  3. Exercise 4-6x a week.  Is there one single perfect way to workout?  No.. but the common characteristics of effective exercise include varying your intensity, using large movement patterns, using weights, and choosing something you enjoy to ensure you’re consistent.
  4. Sleep 7-8 Hours per night.  Sleep is the greatest form of recovery, that aids in reducing stress, improving bodily functions, and even mood.  Sleep will give you the energy you need to be more productive at work, and in your daily workouts.

If you’re looking to improve your Fitness and/or Nutrition, start with one the one that you feel you can be most consistent with.

Book a FREE INTRO now!

3 Exercises to Fix your Lower Back Pain

The body thrives on balance. Our muscles and joints are happiest when they are getting equal and total range of motion. The spine is no different and since it’s range of motion is smaller than most other joints, imbalances can be felt more intensely.

The spine requires the stability of the supporting muscles that surround it to keep up upright and mobile. When a link in this system is weak, the body will compensate in order to expend the least amount of energy. 

A common issue seen causing that dreaded lower back is due to tight hip flexors, tight spinal erectors, accompanied by weak abs and glutes, also referred to as the lower cross syndrome. The tightness of the body in one area causes another area of the body to become weak. 

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Buddhist Proverb

 

So how do you fix or prevent this? Here are three things you can do today to make sure your glutes are firing, your core is tight, and your hips and back muscles stay strong but supple.

  1. Single leg glute bridges, to strengthen the core & glutes. Aim for 3 sets of 15 on each side. Plant the bottom of your feet and palms firmly on the floor. Stack knees above ankles. Lift one foot off the ground and perform a single glute bridge with the other, pressing firmly into your palms, shoulders, and foot to take any pressure off the neck. Try to get the hips as high as possible, then lower to the ground.
  2. Couch Stretch, loosen the tight hip flexors Aim for 2 minutes on each side. Using a couch or a bench, get into a low lunge in front of your object of choice, and the goal of this stretch is to use the front leg to support your weight as you put your back foot on a couch or bench and get your knee as close to the couch or bench as possible to stretch the hip of the back leg.  
  3. Supine single-leg twists to loosen the tight muscles in the lower back.

Lay on your back, hands out to a T, and legs together, bring your right knee up to your chest and let it fall to the left side of your body. Try to keep the spine stacked in a straight line. Repeat on the left leg, bringing left knee to chest then letting it fall to your right, knee resting on the ground or a block. Spend at least a minute on each side.

Incorporate these exercises and stretches into your routine to help ease and prevent lower back pain. As always if anything causes pain, don’t do it and always consult your doctor before trying new things.

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.